Pause: How will new technologies help us build Africa’s century?

__It’s up to us. Let’s move quickly.

As some of you know, I just returned from the World Bank/IMF annual meeting in Bali, Indonesia where I spoke on a panel about emerging technologies and how they will impact peoples’ lives in every way, especially in poorer countries around the world. You all already know: Jobs will be lost. Lots of them. But, jobs will also be created…

How many? That is up to our own planning and vision — as businesses, governments and civil society, as well as researchers, inventors, and you… Yes, there will be winners and also some losers (especially those who don’t plan ahead). One reason I still have this FB platform is because I want all of you, and all of Africa, to emerge as winners in the digital age they now call the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

__”What is in your hand?” You know you will never stop hearing me ask this.

A few days ago, I published an op-ed [an article expressing an editorial opinion] about something I deeply believe in: Africa’s great entrepreneurial talent. If we can truly unleash Africa’s entrepreneurial spirit, we can lead the world in pioneering technology-fueled inclusive growth, and more. I will give you a link to the op-ed below and share some of it here.

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As most of you know, I am co-chairing the Pathways for Prosperity: Commission for Technology and Inclusive Development, with Melinda Gates and Indonesia’s Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati. Both of them participated in the panel on “harnessing technology for inclusive growth” earlier this week, alongside me and several others.

At the Commission we’re working to provide developing countries, in particular, with positive ideas and practical tools to prepare and plan ahead for the revolutionary changes that new technologies are already unleashing throughout the world. We want to hear from you, too. Here’s a link for the Senior Class to a new report: “Charting Pathways for Inclusive Growth: From Paralysis to Preparation”… https://pathwayscommission.bsg.ox.ac.uk/charting-pathways-report.

If our African governments put the right polices in place, including educational curricula and skills training for all ages that prepare our people for the jobs of the future, I am convinced more than ever that we can compete with any region in the world. But we must move quickly.

One key area of research is how to raise value from agriculture – using advances in data analytics, biotechnology and communications to improve farm yields and logistics.

Most of you know that at least 60% of Africans live in rural areas and most depend on agriculture for their very survival. I started the current #Re-ImagineRural series with that thought in mind and also because I passionately believe its huge potential.

I am not alone in believing that agriculture is one of the key frontiers for African entrepreneurs. We’re seeing, for instance, an exciting range of “precision agriculture” apps being pioneered in places like South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria.

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__Are there any such innovations in your countries?

If we seize the day, the possibilities opening up right now through digital communications, artificial intelligence, enhanced data management and other technologies are limitless.

The Pathways Commission is eager to hear new evidence and ideas, and learn from the voices and visions of entrepreneurs like you on this platform:

__How can technology be a force for good to enhance equality and prosperity in Africa, and other parts of the world?

Please do your homework and help us get the conversation going… in your communities, schools, universities, innovation hubs, workplaces, churches, mosques, local and national governments, and across the continent.

What are the most promising ways that new technologies can help us build Africa’s century? Are we prepared? What needs to be done, by whom, where and how?

“When” is not the question. The time is now.

Let’s talk.

To be continued. . .

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