All Africa Digital Economy Moonshot

Spring Meeting Presentation

Digital innovation is creating unprecedented opportunities for Africa to grow its economy, create jobs, and transform people’s lives. With the aim to digitally connect every individual, business and government in Africa by 2030, the African Union, with the support of the World Bank Group, has embarked on an ambitious journey—a “moonshot” that will help countries accelerate progress, bring high-speed connectivity to all, and lay the foundations for a vibrant digital economy. This April, African leaders and influencers will come together to discuss practical ways of bringing the moonshot vision to life and building an inclusive digital future all across the continent. Watch live, share your ideas, and be part of the conversation!

Moonshot Africa and jobs

Is new technology “transformative” or “disruptive”?  I’ve heard this topic hotly debated indexat meetings both within the World Bank and more broadly.  The issue is not just linguistic hair-splitting.  Technology optimists prefer the first term and see new technologies, digitization in particular, as an opportunity for low-income developing countries to leapfrog into the 21st century. Moonshot Africa, an ambitious World Bank initiative to connect individuals, firms, and governments in Africa to fast internet is inspired by this vision. Technology pessimists on the other hand emphasize the disruptive effects digital technologies are expected to have on labor markets. Concerns about robots and algorithms replacing human labor increasingly dominate the public debate not only in advanced economies, but also in emerging and developing economies. Against this background, it is natural to ask how these two views are compatible. To be more specific: How will Moonshot Africa create jobs on a continent where job creation is needed more than anywhere else in the world with Africa’s working-age population projected to rise by 70% in the next twenty years?

Continue reading