The African Union Commission Specialised Technical Committees (STC) on Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration is the leading Conference for African ministers responsible for finance, economy, planning, integration and economic development, and central bank governors, to discuss matters about the development of Africa. This STC is also charged with following up on implementation of the integration agenda for the continent.
The AU Commission is organizing its 4th STC on Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration under the theme “Leveraging the 4th Industrial Revolution to address Youth Unemployment in Africa”. The theme is relevant in driving the realization of Africa’s Agenda 2063, particularly, “Aspiration 1” which seeks a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.
Today, the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) is bringing the hope of a new era for Africa’s transformation and prosperity, as it is changing the way we live, think and work, through rapid advancements in digital technology, new materials, especially when it comes to advanced robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning. It focuses on the transition to new systems, built on the infrastructure of the digital evolution and has the potential of fast-tracking the integration of the continent into the global value chain, through industrial development.
The 4IR will enable companies and organizations to benefit from the efficiencies at the work place. It is estimated that, faster adoption of digital technology will enable companies and organizations to work smarter and faster, resulting in the creation of value gains for customers and users.
More specifically, African policy makers need to ensure that the 4IR, take advantage of the opportunities associated with a young population, and the expected demographic dividend. Therefore, tying these opportunities together in a region that is urbanizing faster than any other should be a strategic imperative. It is estimated that by 2050 Africa will have 830 million youth. Therefore, successfully harnessing their potential will support broad-based innovations increased productivity, and lead to inclusive and sustainable economic growth across the region.
The 2020 STC aims at exploring the impact of the 4IR on Africa and African youth participation in the future of job market, given the changing dynamics. It will deliberate on how African leaders and policy-makers can harness the impact of the 4IR to create a future-driven inclusive society aiming at reducing unemployment amongst African youths.
This will include assessing the continent’s readiness to absorb the shocks of the ‘4th Wave,’ in order to harness the opportunities of the digital era. It will also identify the drivers of change and their likely consequences over the next half century, and propose policy choices that will enable Africa to fulfil its potential in the years ahead.
The STC will also add to the scant knowledge base on this topic for Africa and reflect the latest evidence from leading reports such as the Africa’s Development Dynamics, whose 2020 edition would focus on policy responses needed for a better “Future of Work” in Africa given the process of technological change, demographic, urban and green transition. Read the Concept note here