top of page

The Burgeoning Fitness Industry In East Africa Pioneering Growth – The AFROFIT Fitness Franchise

Written by: Yves Preissler, Executive Contributor in collaboration with by Natasha Szoke

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Yves Preissler

East Africa is experiencing a remarkable transformation in recent years, with a unique opportunity unfolding in the fitness industry. With limited competition, a young and eager population, and a scarcity of talent in the fitness sector, East Africa presents an ideal landscape for pioneering and setting industry standards.

A gym studio.

Limited competition – An open canvas for entrepreneurs

In comparison to more established markets, East Africa currently has limited competition in the fitness industry. The number of fitness centers, gyms, and wellness facilities remains relatively low compared to the demand. This scarcity of established players creates an incredible opportunity for entrepreneurs to make their mark and set the standards for the industry's future growth.

Population Numbers in East African Countries (2021)

  • Kenya: Approximately 54 million

  • Tanzania: Approximately 61 million

  • Uganda: Approximately 47 million

  • Rwanda: Approximately 13 million

  • Burundi: Approximately 12 million

  • South Sudan: Approximately 12 million

  • Ethiopia (part of the East African region): Approximately 120 million

  • Somalia (part of the East African region): Approximately 15 million

Source: World Bank

Estimate of gyms in East African Markets (2021)

  • Kenya: With its more developed market, Kenya boasts a higher number of gyms, estimated at around 600-700 fitness centres and gyms.

  • Tanzania: Tanzania has seen significant growth in the fitness industry, with approximately 300-400 gyms.

  • Uganda: The fitness industry in Uganda has been on the rise, and there are now an estimated 200-300 gyms.

  • Rwanda: Rwanda is experiencing a burgeoning fitness culture, with approximately 100-150 gyms.

  • Burundi: Although Burundi's fitness industry is smaller, there are still approximately 50-100 gyms.

  • South Sudan: South Sudan is also showing signs of growth, with around 50-100 gyms.

  • Ethiopia: While part of the East African region, Ethiopia is often considered part of the Horn of Africa and has its own unique fitness industry. There are approximately 300-400 gyms in Ethiopia.

  • Somalia: Somalia is gradually embracing fitness, with around 50-100 gyms.

Source: Local Fitness Industry Surveys

It’s important to note that the numbers of fitness centres on international standard is multiple times lower than the estimates, which include local and very basic gym set ups.

Demographic advantage – A young and eager population

East Africa boasts a predominantly young population, with a median age of around 18-19 years in countries like Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania (source: United World Population Prospects). This youthful demographic is increasingly health-conscious and eager to adopt fitness and wellness practices. The World Bank estimates that the East African region's population was over 422 million in 2021, with a projection of continued growth. This population dynamic provides a vast customer base eager to engage in fitness activities.

The average age of the population in East Africa is a key factor driving the fitness industry's growth. With a median age below 20 years in many countries, there is a substantial youth population ready to embrace fitness as a lifestyle choice. The interest in physical fitness and wellness is not only a matter of personal health but is also influenced by cultural and societal factors. Many young East Africans are keen to look and feel their best, and this is reflected in the growing demand for fitness services.

Limited talent pool – A chance for skill development

The fitness industry in East Africa faces a shortage of trained and certified fitness professionals. While this may be seen as a challenge, it is also an opportunity. Entrepreneurs and fitness enthusiasts can capitalize on this gap by investing in training and education programs to develop local talent. By doing so, they not only contribute to the growth of the industry but also create a sustainable source of skilled workers.

Average Age in East African Countries (2021)

  • Kenya: Approximately 19 years

  • Tanzania: Approximately 17 years

  • Uganda: Approximately 16 years

  • Rwanda: Approximately 19 years

  • Burundi: Approximately 18 years

  • South Sudan: Approximately 19 years

  • Ethiopia (part of the East African region): Approximately 19 years

  • Somalia (part of the East African region): Approximately 17 years

Source: United World Population Prospects

Willingness to learn and grow – The pursuit of fitness education

East Africans have demonstrated a remarkable willingness to learn and grow within the fitness industry. The demand for fitness-related education and certification programs has been steadily increasing. Many individuals are enthusiastic about pursuing careers in fitness and wellness, making it a promising market for fitness education providers and businesses.

AFROFIT fitness franchise: A turnkey solution

For entrepreneurs looking to enter East Africa's fitness industry, the AFROFIT fitness franchise offers a turnkey solution. With its expertise in understanding local markets and a track record of success, AFROFIT provides a ready-made blueprint for entrepreneurs to establish and operate fitness centres. This franchise not only streamlines the setup process but also leverages AFROFIT's experience to ensure business growth and sustainability.

Recommendations for success

  • Contextual Understanding: Businesses looking to thrive in East Africa's fitness industry should prioritize understanding local cultures, preferences, and needs. Tailoring fitness programs and services to the specific requirements of the population is essential for success.

  • Endurance and Innovation: The fitness industry is dynamic and continually evolving. Businesses must exhibit endurance and innovation to stay ahead. Offering a variety of fitness options, staying up to date with trends, and adapting to changing consumer preferences are keys to long-term success.

  • Invest in Education: To address the talent shortage, it is crucial to invest in education and training programs. Partnering with local institutions and organizations to promote fitness education can create a pipeline of skilled professionals.

Summary conclusion

East Africa's fitness industry is on the brink of explosive growth, and the time is ripe for entrepreneurs and fitness enthusiasts to seize the opportunity. With limited competition, a young and eager population, and a shortage of talent, the potential for success is vast. By understanding the local context, emphasizing endurance and innovation, and considering franchise opportunities like AFROFIT, entrepreneurs can play a pivotal role in shaping the fitness landscape of East Africa while reaping the benefits of a booming industry. It's a chance to not only set industry standards but also make a meaningful impact on the health and well-being of the region's people.

Follow me on LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

Yves Preissler Brainz Magazine

Yves Preissler, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Yves Preissler is the founder of YP Business Consulting. Yves is leading a team of professionals bringing a wealth of global expertise in providing fitness turn key solutions for commercial, residential, hotel and large scale home gyms. The YP team guides investors, developers and business owners through all the stages required in a successful project: Market / competitive studies, feasibility analysis, detailed financials, location sourcing, concept design, design/ project development, project management, recruitment, sales, marketing and operations.



  • linkedin-brainz
  • facebook-brainz
  • instagram-04


bottom of page