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The Africa Report Debates #6 – ‘The new tech era: job-killer or job-creator?’

By Nicholas Norbrook, in Abidjan
Posted on Friday, 5 April 2019 16:06

Editor Patrick Smith and Mo Ibrahim with the panel at a previous TAR Debate in Accra. Photo: Carlos Lopes

Everyone knows the size of the challenge: Africa’s demographic dividend has arrived, but the jobs have not.

So where should the energy be spent? Will new technology hinder or aid Africa’s job creation?

  • Long held up as a saviour, new technology – in AI, automation, and social media – may not be as helpful as we thought. If Africa’s future is climate insecurity and joblessness, any spare societal bandwidth needs to be spent on the basics; roads, schools, and climate change adaptation. Not chasing after Silicon Valley.
  • But what if we can embrace technology more fully? If the biggest challenge for Africa is boosting the productivity of farmers, then the drone that maps soil fertility, the algorithm that matches a farmer to the best market for her product, and the weather and crop information alerts she receives on her phone are key to progress. If we are wise enough, Africa’s technology can enjoy leapfrog development and prepare for the jobs that have not even been invented yet.

Following on from our other successful debates in Accra, Geneva, London, Abidjan and Marrakech, The Africa Report is back in the economic capital of Côte d’Ivoire in Partnership with the Mo Ibrahim Foundation for its sixth debate this afternoon. The line up of high-profile speakers and experts includes:

  • Akinwumi Adesina (@akin_adesina), President of the African Development Bank
  • Pascal Lamy, French political consultant and businessman
  • Chioma Agwuegbo (@ChiomaChuka), founder of TechHer, Nigeria
  • Eric Kacou (@eric_kacou), founder and CEO of Entrepreneurial Solutions Partners
  • Zyad Limam (@Zyad63), Editor-in-chief, Afrique Magazine

If you are not in Abidjan yourself tune in to our livestream on Facebook from 2.30pm.

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