Middle East Gaming At A Whole New Level
The gaming industry in the Middle East is rapidly evolving, putting the region on track to become the gaming industry’s epicenter. According to recent developments, Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries are revolutionizing gaming and related technologies faster and more uniquely than most established hotspots, including the United States and Western Europe.
Gaming has become a popular pastime, a social activity, and a source of technology to other e-commerce sectors as a result of the multifaceted revolution. At the current rate of change, the Middle East is poised to become a major player in the global gaming industry.
The Shifting Status of Gambling in the Middle East
In the traditionally religious and conservative Arab world, one of the most notable changes in recent years is the increasing acceptance of gaming. What was once considered a mere leisure pursuit has now become a socially embraced activity, driven in part by the rise of online gaming. Particularly among the younger generation, gaming has become an integral part of daily life, fueling the rapid growth and expansion of the industry in the MENA region.
The COVID-19 pandemic also had an impact on this change. In the face of social restrictions, curfews, and lockdowns, people sought hobbies and means to socialize. Gaming provided a nearly ideal balance of entertainment and socialization. Despite riding this worldwide wave, as the rest of the world reduced their video gaming activities in the aftermath of the epidemic, the Middle East increased their engagement.
Boosting Governmental Assistance
The Middle East’s relatively new gaming culture is built on the support of supportive governments. Administrative authorities in the Middle East are rising to the challenge of supporting the gaming industry through consistent policy shifts. Government assistance is critical to the growth of the gaming industry. Through various initiatives, most administrations in the region encourage and support participation and spectatorship.
The governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are particularly well-known for their accommodative policies, as they provide existing and aspiring players, gamers, and programmers with access to modern studios. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced plans in 2022 to produce more than 30 games domestically and create more than 39,000 eSports-related jobs.
Many governments in the Middle East have placed their bets on the gaming industry’s ability to spur economic growth and are working to expand it.
The Middle East is Changing into a Tech Incubator
Gaming technology has been altered throughout the Middle East, and more changes are on the way. The region quickly absorbs gaming technology and contributes to its widespread adoption through mass consumption. Residents in the region have easy access to games via the internet, which has boosted the number of people who play online on trusted sites such as Arabicbet.org. They also consume a significant amount of gaming content through various streaming platforms and social media.
The Middle East is also actively involved in the development and incorporation of new technologies into the gaming industry. Technologies and technological initiatives such as virtual reality and the metaverse are quickly gaining traction among the region’s large gaming population.
The region’s massive gaming demand is also attracting publishers and developers from all over the world. Gaming technology experts are relocating to fast-rising tech hubs like Dubai, and tech firms are establishing offices in the region to capitalize on its potential. With these trends, the Middle East is on track to attract a large number of talented professionals capable of developing better technologies and assisting in the creation and development of the gaming industry’s future.
The Investment Rush
The Middle East has proven a lucrative location for gaming investments. Unlike in other places, investors in this region show no signs of slowing down. For example, Abu Dhabi Gaming is working to attract game developers in order to create a self-sufficient gaming ecosystem in the region.
The situation is similar in other Middle Eastern countries. By 2022, gaming startups had raised more than $16 million through various deals, an increase from $15 million in 2021. Given the attractiveness of the Middle East’s gaming industry, investments are expected to grow further in 2023.
The gaming industry in the Middle East is thriving, as is the video game market in North Africa. Major corporations, including Tencent Games, are establishing operations in the region, and several other international investors are expected to follow suit in the near future. The Middle East’s gaming market is projected to be worth more than $5 billion by 2025.
From technology to consumption and investment, the Middle East’s gaming ecosystem is swiftly evolving toward greatness. This is due to a number of growth accelerators acting in the modern industry’s favor. If the growing trend continues, the region may even surpass the United States as the worldwide gaming leader by the end of the decade.
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Brent Soars on Iraq Supply Concerns, Ease in Banking Crisis
By Adedapo Adesanya
The price of Brent crude futures rose by 1.3 per cent or 99 cents to $79.27 per barrel on Thursday as banking crisis fears further eased and no resolution in sight yet for the cut-off of the flow of Iraqi Kurdistan oil to Turkey.
Also, the US West Texas Intermediate crude rose by 1.9 per cent or $1.40 to $74.37 per barrel as producers shut in or reduced output at several oilfields in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq following a halt to the northern export pipeline.
About 400,000 barrels per day have been cut off with the pipeline shutdown over an international arbitration ruling in favour of Iraq against Turkey, and this continues to put upward pressure on oil prices.
Likewise, fears that may linger about the potential broader economic impact in the aftermath of the failure of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank, as well as the share crash and rescue bid for giant Credit Suisse, and pressure on other regional banks in the US appear to be easing.
Also supporting prices was a Wednesday report from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) that crude oil stockpiles in the world’s largest producer fell unexpectedly in the week of March 24 to a two-year low.
Crude inventories dropped by 7.5 million barrels, compared with expectations for a rise of 100,000 barrels.
These factors offset bearish sentiment after a lower-than-expected cut to Russian crude oil production in the first three weeks of March, as numbers showed that there was a 300,000 barrels per day production decline compared with targeted cuts of 500,000 barrels per day, or about 5 per cent of Russian output.
Markets are now waiting for the US spending and inflation data due on Friday and the resulting impact on the value of the US Dollar, which impacts oil prices.
Also driving oil prices Thursday have been statements ahead of a planned meeting of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+) on Monday, where delegates have indicated that the 23-man cartel will likely stick to its current production cut plan.
Despite the low prices prompted in part by the banking crisis fears, analysts noted that OPEC+ would stay the course and not react by reducing output further.
Nigerian Exchange Witnesses N318.52bn Listings in Q1 2023
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited witnessed the listing of N318.52 billion worth of securities in the first quarter of 2023, data from the X-Compliance report of the bourse has revealed.
This cut across equities, fixed income, mutual funds and derivatives categories.
The X-Compliance report is a transparency initiative of NGX designed to maintain market integrity and protect investors by providing compliance-related information on all listed companies.
Through the report, NGX ensures that it provides timely information to investors to aid their capital allocation decisions and enable a properly functioning capital market.
According to the report, NGX saw N11.23 billion in Federal Government of Nigeria bond listings which constituted FGN Savings Bonds with maturities ranging between 2024 and 2026.
Lagos State Government issued the only bond by a sub-sovereign entity with its N137.33 billion series 1V, 10-year 13%, Fixed Rate Bonds due 2031 under its N500 billion debt issuance program.
The corporate bond segment recorded N112.42 billion senior unsecured bond listing from Dangote Industries Funding Plc and N31.36 billion in Sukuk Issuances from Taj Bank and Family Homes under their respective Sukuk Issuance programmes.
FTN Cocoa Processors Plc and Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals Plc both did supplementary listings of N850 million and N3.68 billion of shares, respectively.
Africa Plus Partners Nigeria Limited also listed its mutual fund, Africa Infra Plus 1, the first Carbon Plus naira-denominated fund to be listed on the Exchange, at a market value of N21.65 billion.
NGX also continued to drive participation in its derivatives market with the listing of the NGX Pension index Futures Contract and NGX30 Index Futures Contract.
Recall that the Chief Executive Officer of NGX, Mr Temi Popoola, had noted that the Exchange had a renewed focus on listings for the year 2023.
“We will be using listings as a vehicle for meeting strategic aspirations as the new dispensation comes in through increased advocacy and engagements,” he had said.
Nigeria’s Debt Profile Jumps 17% to N46.25trn in 2022
By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria’s total public debt stock increased by 17 per cent to N46.25 trillion or $103.11 billion as of December 2022 from N39.56 trillion or $95.77 billion in 2021.
This information was revealed by the Debt Management Office (DMO) on Thursday.
This means that the country’s debt profile precisely increased by 16.9 per cent or N6.69 trillion or $7.34 billion within one year, as the government borrow funds from various quarters for its budget deficits.
The agency said the new figures comprise the domestic and external total debt stocks of the federal government and the sub-national governments (36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory).
The DMO statement partly read, “As of December 31, 2022, the total public debt stock was N46.25 trillion or $103.11 billion.
“In terms of composition, total domestic debt stock was N27.55 trillion ($61.42 billion) while total external debt stock was N18.70 trillion ($41.69 billion).
“Amongst the reasons for the increase in the total public debt stock were new borrowings by the FGN and sub-national governments, primarily to fund budget deficits and execute projects. The issuance of promissory notes by the FGN to settle some liabilities also contributed to the growth in the debt stock.
“On-going efforts by the government to increase revenues from oil and non-oil sources through initiatives such as the Finance Acts and the Strategic Revenue Mobilization initiative are expected to support debt sustainability.”
“The total public debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio for December 31, 2022, was 23.20 per cent and indicates a slight increase from the figure for December 31, 2022, at 22.47 per cent.
“The ratio of 23.20 per cent is within the 40 per cent limit self-imposed by Nigeria, the 55 per cent limit recommended by the World Bank/International Monetary Fund, and the 70 per cent limit recommended by the Economic Community of West African States,” the debt office said.
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