Regional Views on the Future of Work: Sub-Saharan Africa
Digitalization, artificial intelligence, and related technologies are undoubtedly changing the way we approach our social and economic lives. By allowing us to produce –both old and new– goods and services in novelty ways, technologies are not just transforming production processes, but the very essence of jobs in the workplace. At the technological frontier, robots and software are carrying out many tasks that used to belong exclusively to humans. Far from that frontier, the developing world struggles to adopt and adapt new technologies while avoiding job displacement and technological anxieties. Such deep transformations force us to think about what comes next: will robots end up filling the already scarce jobs in the Global South? Will technology exacerbate or help us tackle social gaps? Lots of efforts are directed to capturing elements of how the future of work will look like. In these dialogues, academics and field experts engaged in a double cross-fertilization process: they discussed key questions for variety of relevant themes – including technology, skills, institutions, demographics, and inequality– while approaching them from the regional perspectives of Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America, and Asia. This document –as well as three companion papers covering other Global South regions - seeks to present key messages and policy recommendations emerging from these discussions. On the one hand, it is intended to take stock of the main dimensions shaping the future of work in the Global South. On the other, it is an open invitation to move from the plane of predictions to that of the imagination and future-building. It can serve as a powerful tool to reframe the discussion by adding Global South perspective.