14 PUBLIC GAMING INTERNATIONAL • MAY/JUNE 2022 PGRI INTERVIEWS Paul Jason: What makes this year, 2022, such an important inflection point in the development of the Gaming, Sports Betting, and Lottery markets in Africa? Younes El Mechrafi: African sports betting and lottery markets are facing many challenges, but also provides enormous opportunities amidst untapped potential. The top-of-mind issues include: how to improve regulatory frameworks in a sector in constant evolution; how to integrate safe online gambling and avoid problem gambling; and how to maximize sales, growth, and funding for societal causes in a responsible manner. Often, licenses to operate games-ofchance are no longer effective or up-todate at addressing ongoing innovation and technological developments. How new technologies are integrated into existing IT infrastructures to bring lotteries into outer zones and rural areas is also a challenge. Of course, these challenges represent opportunities for suppliers and operators who are encouraged to work together with us to forge solutions and new pathways to growth and prosperity for the African economies and people. African lotteries are in the ascending stages of their learning curve. The good news is that Africa is also in a dynamic of heightened economic growth and development. The success strategies that have contributed to modernization in other global regions have varied greatly according to the times they took place in, the legacy industrial and technological infrastructure, cultural mores and gaming culture in particular, and countless other factors. Economic growth and technological innovation have followed quite different trajectories in Europe, North America, Asia, and even the countries within those regions. And so it is now the case that Africa is developing its own unique success story. We all want to learn from the past, we want our strategic planning to be informed by the best-practices as they have been applied in other regions. But we also need to recognize that African economies are following a path that is quite different from any others in history. For instance, Africa’s lack of a built-out land-based cables Modernizing the RFP and Process of Forging Productive Partnerships Younes El Mechrafi Chief Executive Officer, la Marocaine des Jeux et des Sports (MDJS) General Secretary of African Lotteries Association WLA Executive Committee member and Chairman of WLA Audit Committee PGRI INTRODUCTION: These are interesting times on a wide variety of fronts. In spite of adversity, or perhaps because of it, the world is changing in many positive ways. The emerging markets of Africa are poised to accelerate their growth trajectory. Morocco, long viewed as the gateway to Africa for its strong ties to the rest of the world, has a lottery and sports betting market that is mature, dynamic, and growing. And now it is poised to position itself for an even more ambitious period of development. To this end, MDJS is executing an RFP process with the goal of applying best practices that support technological innovation, flexibility to adapt to new solutions as they become available in the future, and process-engineering to assure partnerships are aligned to pursue goals with a clarity of purpose and direction. We thank Younes El Mechrafi for sharing his vision for forging long-term relationships that will serve the stakeholders of MDJS and the people of Morocco.