African Countries Using Computer Games To Stabilize Political Transitions

The SENSE program is a U.S. developed computer game that has been helping countries prepare for national transitions following major moments of unrest since the 90s. Created by the U.S. Institute of Defense Analysis, the Strategic Economic Needs and Security Exercise is now being used to help train top officials from Tunisia, Egypt and Libya to manage those countries during their political transitions. It replaces charming tiny animated people with real-time charts and in-person advisers.

It allows multiple participants to experience high-pressure decision making — and see the impact of those decisions — in a rapidly shifting, real-time scenario.

The programme, the Strategic Economic Needs and Security Exercise, takes into account internal social and political changes, monetary and fiscal policy pressures and geopolitical factors such as regional conflict and sanctions.

“The concept of the Sense program was born in the American Institute for Defence Analyses after the Dayton agreements, so it was initially aimed at Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said director in charge of the SENSE Program, Karolina Zelent-Smigrodzka from the Polish Foreign Ministry. “The computer simulation is based on the formation of a hypothetical country with a market economy and, what’s interesting, the participants of the exercise need to work on the game in a crisis situation.”

Poland, which used the program following their transition from communism to democracy, is now a licensed operator and instructor of the game in Europe.

The training videos show that a lot of the training is about highlighting the repercussions of decisions over the long term.

Maybe they should spice things up a bit and throw in some dragons and an aggressive, war-loving Jarl into the mix.

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