Fighting the resource curse through online gaming

ALAIN LILLE is not pleased. His wildcat oil firm spent a fortune looking for oil in Petronia, a former colony known for cashmere wool, long before anyone else was willing to take the risk. After sealing a deal with the long-ruling government, he was poised to reap the rewards. But in last year’s election, a new president came to power, promising a better deal for the people. Mr Lille fears she will reopen negotiations, further delaying any profits for the company or revenues for the country. She has invited four foreign “experts”, who have never set foot in the country before, to advise her. As he shares these concerns at a drinks reception at Hôtel Capitale, Mr Lille notices one of these foreign advisers sidling up to listen in.

Mr Lille does not exist. Neither does the country, Petronia. They appear instead in a new online game created by the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), a think-tank based in New York and London that seeks to improve the management of oil, gas and mineral wealth in developing countries. As a player, you take on the role of that pesky foreign adviser eavesdropping on Mr Lille. As well as the drinks reception, your adventures will take you to the presidential palace, the capital city’s cafés and markets, and the coastal district of Neftala, where the oil was discovered.

In its training courses NRGI has long...

via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

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