In order for Afrika to compete and thrive in the world as it is today and in the future, it has to invest more in training people as well as digital infrastructure. These were the words of Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank, speaking at the opening panel on Tech Revolutions: Widening Gap or Leapfrog Opportunity at the 2018 Africa CEO Forum.

Adesina further added that high-technology industrial clusters with a particular focus on the factories, skills and jobs of the future need to be established across Afrika.

“The key is to make sure that the CEOs are investing in the factories of the future. Why must we just be consumer-centered? We have to innovate, we have to create. We have to be entrepreneurial in driving the continent towards the 4th Industrial Revolution. To strive in this new environment, we need digital infrastructure. If we are not in investing in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, we are not going to catch up with digitalization," said Adesina.

Speaking at the Africa CEO Forum on 26 March 2018, Adesina explained that doing this will help Afrika compete at the accelerated pace of technological innovations and the 4th Industrial Revolution, Much has been spoken about the 4th Industrial revolution and its benefits for the continent yet Afrika still lags behind in many aspects.

“By 2050, Afrika will have the youngest population in the world – one person out of five will be an African. This will be a great opportunity only if the youth are well educated.” said Alassane Ouattara, President of Côte d'Ivoire,

Adesina also called on Afrikan governments and the private sector to invest in infrastructure for the digital revolution to succeed.

“China is already ahead with robotics. We have to improve our manufacturing capacities. How do we compete with robots? Robots don't take leave, they don't go on strike. We have to train our young people not for the jobs of yesterday, but prepare them to create the jobs of the future,” said Adesina.


Cover image credit: Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, at the Express Progress Meeting 2014 of the Africa Progress Panel. | Africa Progress Panel