President, African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, has described coding as “currency of the future’’ while also urging African leaders to democratise technology to boost inclusive technology for economic growth.
He pleaded to Africans to embrace technology, and governments to urgently move away from “investing in the jobs of the past, but rather in the jobs of the future. A future that is just around the corner.”
Adesina made this remarks while speaking on the topic ‘’The New Tech Era: Job-killer or Job-creator’’ at the 2019 Mo Ibrahim Governance Week organised by Africa Report and Jeune Afrique in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
He said, “The people who control data, will control Africa. Coding must be compulsory, at all levels. The currency of the future is going to be coding.
“Information technology must not be the exclusive privilege of the elite, we must democratize technology.
“We must grab the opportunities. We must democratize technology. Africa should prepare itself. Digital technologies, including Artificial intelligence, big data analytics, blockchains, 3D printing, are already upon us,” Adesina said.
In his welcome remarks, Mo Ibrahim urged the gathering to think about ways to address the “tsunami of young people entering the job market.”
Mo Ibrahim tasked the gathering on the need for “a change in mindset to move from BBC or Born Before Computers to rethinking education to teach people how to learn and help them solve problems.”
Panellists at the event, Pascal Lamy who is the board Director of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and past Director-General of the World Trade Organization; Eric Kacou, acknowledged the critical role the tech industry can play in Africa’s economic transformation through the continent’s digitization.
They agreed on the urgent need to upgrade the skills of the past, to do it fast, and move away from the social fear of technology.
Research has shown that if governments harness the full economic potential of just the internet, Africa could add $300 billion to its GDP by 2025. Also, 70% of all jobs will have an ICT component by 2020.