Washington D.c — The world bank President, Jim Young Kim has said many African Countries are not prepared to compete in what is increasingly becoming a digitalized economy, noting that many of the low skill jobs will be taken over by technology.
Kim made the remark today at the ongoing spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in Washington D.C
He said, there's tremendous hope that technology could help some African countries leapfrog and go forward and find new ways of driving economic growth.
He however stressed that there's no getting away from the need to invest much more and much more effectively in health and education.
According to Kim, "When we say rates of childhood stunting over 30 percent, meaning these children their brains are simply not as well-developed as their non-stunted peers, and that they will learn less and they will earn less in the future. We have good data on that."
He said when stunting rates are over 30 percent, sometimes close to 50 percent that group of young children will not be prepared to compete in the digital economy in the future.
Kim argues that, Everyone understands the need for physical capital, for physical infrastructure and investments in infrastructure. But, there's still an underappreciation of the importance of improving health and educational systems.
"our sense is that as economies become more digitized that relationship between health outcomes and educational outcomes is only going to get stronger over time." He added, stressing that, it is " time for all countries to really take a hard look at how well they've invested in their own people because that is likely going to be the most important determinant of whether they'll be able to keep up with economic growth."
Now, it's not just for children. It's also skills programs for adults. The human capital agenda, I think, has been neglected for far too long, and what we've shown in our
According to the report released at the meeting titled " The Changing Wealth of Nations," human capital represents 65 per cent of all the wealth in the world.
He said " Every African country has to look much more seriously at how it improves its own domestic resource mobilization. So in other words, they should be better at collecting taxes, you know, to just provide the basic services we think countries should collect at least 15 percent of GDP in taxes. Many countries don't reach that level."
He called on African countries to remove fossil fuel subsidies that are often very regressive, and only help the rich more than they help the poor.
Kim also pointed out that Tobacco taxes have shown to be very effective at raising revenue and decreasing smoking and can be used to finance all kinds of things.
"So there's so many things that can be done to help countries both invest in physical infrastructure and also invest in human capital, but it requires reform and it requires courage. And so I know these kinds of things that I'm talking about are difficult, but please let all the African leaders know that the World Bank Group's ready to help them undertake all those measures." He added.