World of work in the 4th industrial revolution: inclusive and structural transformation for a better Africa

OUTPUT TYPE: Policy briefs
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2018
TITLE AUTHOR(S): W.Simbanegavi, A.Patel, L.W.Senbet, R.B.A.Mouelhi, J.Gatune, K.Y.Amaoko, S.Mutanga, T.Altenburg, B.Coulibaly, A.Prakash
KEYWORDS: AFRICA, EMPLOYMENT CREATION, FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
DEPARTMENT: African Institute of South Africa (AISA)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 10723

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Abstract

Unemployment and underemployment are among the key development challenges confronting Africa, and they manifest in deepening poverty and inequality. These tend to disproportionately impact youth and women. In the absence of far-reaching reforms and transformations, these challenges will be compounded by the 4th industrial revolution, which is expected to 'disrupt' markets, particularly labor. However, there is a window of opportunity that African countries, in partnership with the G20 countries, can exploit. First, African economies need to structurally transform, both within and across sectors. Second, African countries need to transform their education systems, and to build appropriate capabilities in readiness for the digital economy. There is need to reorient education systems towards STEM to better prepare populations for the digital economy. Third, countries will have to increase their R&D spending and strengthen national systems of innovations to give impetus to innovation. Inclusive finance for development, including digital financial services and fintechs, will play a pivotal role in enhancing financial inclusion and resilience, and thus ultimately reducing poverty. Partnership with G20 will improve likelihood of success in these endeavors.