Global Media Congress is helping foster positive synergies by providing this international platform: MediaCity Mauritius CEO

ABU DHABI, “By providing the industry with this international platform, the Global Media Congress is helping foster positive synergies that we want to replicate in Mauritius,” according to a top media official in the Indian Ocean island nation.

The first edition of the Global Media Congress (GMC) is set to take place in Abu Dhabi from 15th to 17th November, 2022.

Organised by ADNEC Group in partnership with the Emirates News Agency (WAM), the GMC is an opportunity for a great leap forward in the region’s and the globe’s media sector.

“The UAE example shows how collaboration between and integration of media industry players result in positive outcomes. The Dubai media city has demonstrated this. In fact existing media cities are not competitors but rather opportunities, because the tenants of these media cities will also want to settle in new markets. These companies are currently looking to establish themselves on the continent, and benefit from the new opportunities it has to offer,” Najib Gouiaa, MediaCity Mauritius CEO, said in an interview with local media.

“Our goal is to bring together African and international companies from across the sector. And we want to be recognised as the leading global media city in Africa, serving as a creative hub, along with the likes of Dubai, Seoul, Salford and others.”

“We are greatly encouraged by what the UAE has been able to achieve in the global media space thanks to Dubai media city and incredibly valuable initiatives such as the GMC. It’s a model we want to replicate by making MediaCity Mauritius Africa’s leading media hub for content creation, digital production, global interaction, and local collaboration.”

According to him, culture and creativity are important economic drivers that create jobs, foster economic growth, and have a positive impact on urban development. The future media city will enable Mauritius to position itself in a market that has enormous economic potential by developing a platform capable of hosting the African headquarters or subsidiaries of international media groups and communications agencies, as well as audio-visual, video game and eSport companies.

Najib Gouiaa noted, “The business model is tried and tested, not least in the UAE. By providing creative industry players with an opportunity to establish themselves in MediaCity Mauritius and expand their activities from there, the country will acquire a new source of revenue and growth, which is particularly significant given the current economic context.”

Following is the full interview:

MediaCity Mauritius: An international gateway to Africa for the creative and media industries

An interview with the MediaCity Mauritius CEO, Najib Gouiaa

At the media and creative industries come together in Abu Dhabi for the Global Media Congress stakeholders argue that the sector is a major driver of economic growth worldwide. The industry is changing for the better: the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to a surge in subscriptions to streaming services, and the increasing importance of technology are all having profound effects on how consumers and producers interact with all forms of media. As such, the creative sector has not been affected by the downturn caused by the global health crisis, and it has, on the contrary, continued to grow despite lockdown constraints. The coming years look highly promising for this sector. The African digital content market is no exception to this upward trend, having expanded dramatically over the last few years – a trend that is set to continue. Now more than ever, many well-known companies in Europe and Asia’s media cities are looking to develop a presence in Africa to tap into the potential of this emerging market. The MediaCity Mauritius project is taking that opportune moment to realise a unique, multifunctional creative and business concept, intended as a world-class centre for international production enterprises, creative agencies, video game companies and global media.

MediaCity Mauritius is attending the GMC, and we spoke to its CEO, Najib Gouiaa, who told us: “Our ambition is very much in line with the increasing globalisation of the creative and media industries. We know that major players in these industries are constantly expanding their global footprint to be present in new markets. By establishing a media city dedicated to Africa, thereby joining the existing network of media hubs around the world, MediaCity Mauritius will be the gateway connecting the global media industry to the African market. Such an endeavour represents a huge opportunity for the continent to realise its long-awaited creative and commercial potential.”

An international multi-media hub for Africa offering prime broadcast and production facilities to global players

MediaCity Mauritius will house a combination of media, technology, African and international media networks, production companies, creative agencies, learning infrastructure, drawing in key industry players, and enabling regional companies to grow into successful world-class corporations, all within a high-tech, sustainable infrastructure. It will also provide a wide range of key services to meet their needs, which include connectivity, storage, uplink, among others.

Najib Gouiaa told us more about the objective behind the project: “We’re developing a world-class African hub for the media and creative industries in Mauritius. We want to attract major audio-visual corporations, the global media, and international creative entrepreneurs and connect them to the emerging market in the region.

Our goal is to bring together African and international companies from across the sector. And we want to be recognised as the leading global media city in Africa, serving as a creative hub, along with the likes of Dubai, Seoul, Salford and others.”

Mauritius is different from many African countries in that it has various assets which foster a conducive environment for creative and media industry players

The target market of the project includes all the major segments of screen production, gaming, publishing as well as music and radio. In recent years, with changing customer profiles and needs, screen production around the world has increased considerably. It has even become a significant economic driver in many countries. COVID lockdowns have also boosted user engagement with video games, e-sports and live-streaming. MediaCity Mauritius wants to address the widespread growth in these markets, particularly in Africa.

In Africa, the creative and media industries are booming, but the continent does not yet have a Media City capable of hosting international industry players in the same way that Dubai represents a hub for the Middle East, Seoul for Asia, and London and Brussels for Europe.

According to Najib Gouiaa, Mauritius has the potential to be the epicentre of Africa’s media and creative industries.

“I’m convinced that Mauritius is the perfect place to bring together international companies looking to establish themselves in Africa. The island provides the secure and connected environment these companies need to really prosper in this market. The country has super-fast broadband connectivity, and a well-educated and bilingual workforce (French and English). Above all, it’s a cultural melting pot of African, Asian, and European influences – such global openness is a critical factor in the development of a knowledge, information, and entertainment-based economy.”

A campus at the heart of the media city, to provide a pipeline of business-ready talent

Media cities need a range of diverse creative professionals, from audio-visual technicians, graphic designers, and digital technology workers to production and management-related professionals. The ability to source qualified local personnel is essential. In this vein, a Media Campus will be set up in the centre of MediaCity Mauritius. Its purpose will consist in hosting renowned schools and universities delivering specialised higher education in the creative and media fields to develop a local pool of qualified talent.

Najib Gouiaa described the media campus as “The strategic centrepiece of our development plan because the availability of local and qualified human resources will be critical. So, the academic offer is tied to the technological offer in our project. This is a key issue for any industry, but especially when it comes to the production of digital content. The companies which will be housed in MediaCity Mauritius will rely heavily on the availability of a skilled workforce. So, we believe we can both help the media industry meet its recruitment needs and support talented young professionals in the pursuit of their professional goals by placing a media campus directly alongside the industry.”

Our partnership with Broadcasting Center Europe will bring industry-leading standards and provide high quality media services

Broadcasting Center Europe and Media City Mauritius recently announced an agreement for the development of a new broadcasting centre dedicated to Africa (BCA). This new broadcasting centre will be built to meet the growing needs of the media industry in Africa. It will provide its occupants with the most up-to-date technological facilities in terms of broadcast equipment, hardware, and software.

Najib Gouiaa added: “Our partnership with Broadcasting Center Europe, which is a European leader in media services, speaks volumes about the quality and reliability of our technological offer. It will bring industry-leading standards and provide high quality media services. Thanks to BCE’s expertise, our broadcasting centre will provide its occupants with the most up-to-date technological facilities in terms of broadcast equipment, hardware, and software.”

We have identified a gap due to the huge demand in Africa and we want to be the main regional centre realising this creative and commercial potential.

Many countries of the continent are plagued by poor internet connectivity, a lack of professional skills, cumbersome bureaucracies, and national censorship. By developing a Media City, Mauritius will position itself as the prime location for international companies who are having difficulty penetrating African markets due to a lack of infrastructure.

Najib Gouiaa observed: “We have identified a gap due to the huge demand in Africa and we want to be the main regional centre realising this creative and commercial potential. Our localised operations maximise the assets Mauritius has to offer. This means we are able to position ourselves as a bridge between Africa and the rest of the world, while also stimulating talent and the economy at both domestic and regional levels.”

The importance of the GMC for dialogue and sharing industry best practice

The promoters of the project have established a needs-focused strategy based on mutually-beneficial collaborations with major urban, technological, and academic players. But how do they plan to attract the industry’s most prestigious anchor clients?

Najib Gouiaa answered: “By providing the industry with this international platform, the GMC is helping foster positive synergies that we want to replicate in Mauritius. The UAE example shows how collaboration between and integration of media industry players result in positive outcomes. The Dubai media city has demonstrated this. In fact existing media cities are not competitors but rather opportunities, because the tenants of these media cities will also want to settle in new markets. These companies are currently looking to establish themselves on the continent, and benefit from the new opportunities it has to offer.”

MediaCity Mauritius will be an incentive in this respect, providing the gateway for the continent to generate its own content and tell its own stories.

Culture and creativity are important economic drivers that create jobs, foster economic growth, and have a positive impact on urban development. The future media city will enable Mauritius to position itself in a market that has enormous economic potential by developing a platform capable of hosting the African headquarters or subsidiaries of international media groups and communications agencies, as well as audio-visual, video game and eSport companies.

As Najib Gouiaa told us: “The business model is tried and tested, not least in the UAE. By providing creative industry players with an opportunity to establish themselves in MediaCity Mauritius and expand their activities from there, the country will acquire a new source of revenue and growth, which is particularly significant given the current economic context. The country will benefit from job creation in the digital technology sector, allowing young Mauritians to develop and express their talent in these industries. It will also benefit from the influx of knowledge and expertise related to the production and distribution of new audio-visual content for the African and international markets. MediaCity Mauritius will be an incentive in this respect, providing the gateway for Africa to generate its own content and tell its own stories.

We are greatly encouraged by what the UAE has been able to achieve in the global media space thanks to Dubai media city and incredibly valuable initiatives such as the GMC. It’s a model we want to replicate by making MediaCity Mauritius Africa’s leading media hub for content creation, digital production, global interaction, and local collaboration.”

Source: Emirates News Agency

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