Automation Will Wipe Out Two-thirds Jobs in Developing Countries – World Bank

The World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, has disclosed that automation will wipe out two-thirds jobs in developing countries. This is coming on the heels of the rising profile of internet, smart phones, social media and technology adoption in Africa and other regions.

“In addition to fragility, accelerations in technology are changing the landscape. We estimate that two-thirds of all jobs that currently exist in developing countries will be wiped out by automation.

“At the same time, the internet, smart phones, and social media allow everyone to see exactly how everyone else lives, which is causing aspirations to rise all over the world. I see this everywhere I go.” Kim said at the 2017 World Bank Group/IMF Spring Meetings.

As part of its effort to end extreme poverty by 2030 among developing countries, the World Bank has launched a new programme to support Africa’s top digital entrepreneurs called XL Africa. XL Africa is a five-month business acceleration programme designed to support the 20 most promising digital start-ups from sub-Saharan Africa. Start-ups will receive mentoring from global and local experts, learn through a tailor-made curriculum, increase their regional visibility, and get access to potential corporate partners and investors. With support from prominent African investment groups, XL Africa will help the 20 selected start-ups attract early stage capital between $250,000 and $1.5 million.

“Digital start-ups are important drivers of innovation in Africa,” says Makhtar Diop, Vice President for the Africa Region at the World Bank. “To scale and spread new technologies and services beyond borders, they need an integrated ecosystem that provides access to regional markets and global finance; pan-African initiatives like XL Africa play a critical role by linking local start-ups with corporations and investors across the continent” , he added.

The programme comes at a time of increasing interest in the African digital sector. According to a recent report by Disrupt Africa, in 2016, the number of tech start-ups that secured funding increased by 16.8% compared to 2015.

“XL Africa aims to put a spotlight on the continent’s growing digital economy by scouting for and supporting the most innovative tech start-ups,” said Klaus Tilmes, Director of the Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice at the World Bank Group. “The success of these ventures will create a demonstration effect that can attract much-needed growth investment in the sector and catalyze scaling of transnational businesses in the region.”



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