An emerging "virtual economy" is creating earning opportunities for semi-skilled and unskilled workers with minimal access to digital infrastructure. The third-party gaming market is worth US$3bn per year and an estimated 400,000 workers earn wages in China and Vietnam by playing online games and creating avatars on behalf of foreign customers. A growing number of paid crowd-sourcing and micro-work platforms employ workers in tasks ranging from pattern recognition to text transcription. With low barriers to entry, few intermediaries and a high percentage of value generation retained in country the virtual economy holds significant potential for developing countries to stimulating local growth and entrepreneurship. The session will offer an overview of the global virtual economy, showcase infoDev’s ‘Knowledge Map of the Virtual Economy’ and launch infoDev's Mobile Microwork Challenge, to identify new opportunities for microwork that would benefit developing economies.
§ Vili Lehdonvirta, Researcher, Helsinki Institute for Information Technology
§ Leila Chirayath Janah, CEO of SamaSource
§ Ian McDonald, Award winning Science Fiction novelist
§ Torbjörn Fredriksson, Chief, ICT Analysis Section, UNCTAD
§ Moderated by: Dr Tim Kelly, Senior ICT Policy Specialist, infoDev.org, World Bank.