Modern Olympics founder Pierre de Coubertin conceived the Pan African Games as early as 1920. Attempts were made to host the games in Algiers in 1925 and Alexandria in 1928, but the efforts failed, because the colonial powers were wary of the idea, suspecting that the sport would cause nations to assert their independence. In 1960 in Madagascar and in 1961 in Côte d'Ivoire, French speaking countries of Africa including France organized the Friendship Games. Before games in Senegal in 1963 were completed, African Ministers of Youth and Sport met in Paris in 1962, as a few English speaking countries were already participating, they rechristened the games as the Pan African Games. The Games were granted official recognition by the IOC.
In 1965, the first games were held in Brazzaville, Congo, now called the All-Africa Games and in 1966, the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa (SCSA) was organized to manage the Games. The second edition was awarded to Mali in 1969, but a military coup forced the cancellation of the Games. Lagos, Nigeria stepped in as host for the Games in 1971, and those Games were finally held in 1973 due to the Biafra War. In 1977, the Games were scheduled to take place in Algeria but due to technical reasons had to be postponed and were held in 1978. The next Games were scheduled to take place in Kenya in 1983, but were pushed back to 1985 and finally took place in Nairobi in 1987. The four-year Olympic rhythm has not missed a beat since.
After running previous 11 editions as the All-Africa Games, the games has been renamed the African Games. This decision arrived in 2012, and in 2013 all functions, assets & liabilities were transferred from the SCSA to the African Union Commission. To date, 33 sports were presented in All-Africa Games history at one point or another. In history, all 53 members affiliated to the ANOCA have sent competitors to the Games, 50 nations have won at least a single medal and 42 nations have won at least a single gold medal. South Africa was banned since the beginning of the games till the 1995 because Apartheid and Morocco was banned from the games from the 1987 to the 2015 because of a political dispute over Western Sahara.