“Can gaming truly change a country for the better?” Johana Riquier is convinced it can. She’s Managing Director of Gamerging. She’s a gaming business strategist and a diversity advocate specialized in the Middle Eastern and African market based in Senegal.
“The power of gaming and emerging technologies unlocks new opportunities for growth and innovation in the Global South.” Gaming can create jobs, promote entrepreneurship and drive investment in infrastructure and education. When talking about ‘the global south’ Riquier means South America, Southeast Asia and Africa.
Innovation and technology
According to Riquier there are several ways that gaming has an impact on economic development in the Global South. The games industry itself creates jobs and generates revenues by means of game development, publishing and distribution. But also associated occupations as esports and streaming add to that. Plus the games industry drives innovation and technology development in more ways. Obviously coding skills, design and AI are stimulated, but gaming tech emerges in other industries as well. Think healthcare , finance, architecture and even oil and gas production.
“Games also serve as a platform for social and economic empowerment”, says Riquier. “They can be used to help equip individuals with skills that are in demand. For example in Senegal, where the level of education is quite low, financial institutions look at games and gamified apps to teach people financial literacy.”
In order to truly tap into the local talent and make the industry grow in the Global South, there needs to be a significant investment in high-speed internet infrastructure. “According to the World Bank every 10 percent increase in Broadband penetration can lead to a 1.4 percent increase in GDP growth in developing countries”, says Riquier. That’s why governments in India, Brazil, Egypt, Malaysia and South Africa have rolled out initiatives to provide broadband connectivity to all its citizens and promote the use of digital technology. To stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation these -and other- countries have invested in gaming centers and gaming education programs since 2015. The results are positive.
Watch the talk of Johana Riquier below.