Promise or peril? Automation and the future of work in Africa

The challenges and opportunities the fourth industrial revolution presents for jobs and inclusive economic growth in the region

Manufacturing may no longer offer Africa the productivity and job creation opportunities for mass unskilled labour that it once did for Asia. This comes at a time when Africa’s population is expected to double to 2.5 billion by 2050. Despite broadband coverage of up to 80 % of the population in low-income countries, digital use remains low. At the same time, technology is beginning to transform people’s lives and livelihoods. Robotics, AI, 3D-printing and other industrial-use technologies can present opportunities for low-income countries if harnessed well. This panel brings together experts – and optimists – to explore how governments, the private sector and the development community can address the challenges and opportunities that the fourth industrial revolution presents.

Organised by


Jessica Abrahams
Elvis Melia
Associate Researcher
Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik / German Development Institute
Georgina Hutchinson
Senior Advisor
Tony Blair Institute for Global Change
Edward Kofi Anan Brown
Speaker in Promise or Peril session
African Center for Economic Transformation