African Development Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina, has pleaded for Africans to embrace technology, and governments to urgently move away from ‘investing in the jobs of the past, but rather in the jobs of the future.’
Adesina was addressing a debate entitled, ‘The New Tech Era: Job-killer or Job-creator?’organised by Africa Report and Jeune Afrique as part of the 2019 Mo Ibrahim Governance Week.
“The people who control data, will control Africa,” said Adesina.
“Coding must be compulsory, at all levels. The currency of the future is going to be coding.
“Information technology must not be the exclusive privilege of the elite; we must democratise technology.”
Panellists acknowledged the critical role the tech industry can play in Africa’s economic transformation through the continent’s digitisation. However, they agreed on the urgent need to upgrade the skills of the past, to do it fast, and move away from the social fear of technology.
Research has shown that if governments harness the full economic potential of just the Internet, Africa could add US$300 billion to its GDP by 2025. Also, 70% of all jobs will have an ICT component by 2020.
“We must grab the opportunities, we must democratise technology,” added Adesina.
“Africa should prepare itself. Digital technologies, including Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analytics, Blockchains and 3D printing, are already upon us.”