Africa: Advances in Technology Will Change Job-Market in Africa- - IMF Boss

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The Managing Director of the International Monitory Fund (IMF), Ms Christine Lagarde has said advances in machines, artificial intelligence and robotics were poised to dramatically transform the job market in Sub-Sahara Africa.

"Technology will improve living standards over a long run as a result, strong policy action would be needed to run with the machines while on climate change, Ghana without mitigating measures, rising temperature and changing humidity levels may threaten cocoa and farming production in general," she noted.

Addressing a workshop in Accra "On the future of work in Sub-Sahara Africa" as part of her state visit to Ghana, Ms Lagarde mentioned demographics, technology and climate change as global and regional forces shaping the future.

She explained that Africa's population was expected to increase from One billion to 1.7 billion by 2040. 'This means that the labour force will increase at double the rate of the last decade. If successful the region could enjoy a prolonged period of high growth'.

To this end, the IMF boss noted that the challenges facing Sub-Sahara Africa makes policy decisions very challenging in the face of highly uncertain trends.

She said one way to approach the problem was by imagining different futures and looking back from the future to think through the challenges of today.

The IMF, she disclosed had develop three scenarios, Africa drift, Africa for Africa and Africa Arise sketching different paths for the future of work in Sub-Sahara Africa depending on how policy tackle the forces of demographics, technology and climate change.

'The region succeeds in harnessing the benefits from new technologies. To get there we will need a well- trained labour force with the right skills. Digital infrastructure is just as essential for the traditional sectors and even more for new opportunities created in the digital economy, she stated.

She stressed the need to promote digital literacy and identify the skills that would allow the next generation to work with and take advantage of technology rather than be replaced by it.

In her view, there were many other important policies to cover, from promoting intra-regional trade, to fostering smart urbanisation to cities becoming incubators of innovation to expanding social safety nets.

Ms Lagarde lauded Ghana's farmline initiative by Agro-Tech Company that uses cell phones to provide up to a minute information to farmers across all steps of the value chain, including weather forecast, markets prices amongst others.

The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on his part said the current administration inherited micro economic instability and needed to restore it immediately it took office.

He maintained that Ghana was moving to a technological and digitised age hence initiatives like the Ghana Post GPRS, the port paperless system, mobile money interoperability amongst bothers.

He hinted that government had tasked the Land Title Registry to come out with a land base map initiative that would help forestall issues aggravating from double sale of land and all other problems relating to land administration.

Source: ISD: (Nana Ama Bonnah)

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