The future of jobs in Africa

“Imagine a robot capable of treating Ebola patients or cleaning up nuclear waste”

An overstatement?

I don’t think so.

Apparently, it has not happened (yet).

But this is what the 4th wave of the industrial revolution looks like. It is spontaneously building form in the world and in Africa at large. (Take a look at the16 startups using artificial intelligence in Africa)

The fourth industrial revolution is characterized by a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human. — Klaus Schwab

According to the world economic forum, Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 13% of the world’s working age population; a number that is set to increase to more than 17% by 2030, the world’s second largest after Asia. With more than 60% of its population under the age of 25, Sub-Saharan Africa is already the world’s youngest region today – and, by 2030, will be home to more than one-quarter of the world’s total under-25 population.

Over this period, the region is projected to expand the size of its workforce by more than the rest of the world combined.

With such a huge workforce and a strong incoming wave of the 4th industrial revolution, there is a skills gap in between. There is a large workforce which is already evident with the unemployment rate across the continent.

What can Africa do? What can the youth do about it?

  1. Skills. Africa has to be prepared with the 4th industrial revolution by investing in skills. The kind of skills that accommodate the technology revolution. In the future, an illiterate person will not be a person who cannot read and write, but a person who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn (Alvin Toffler, 2018). The youth have to invest in learning the right skills. educators should encourage their students to learn more digital skills and more enrollment on the STEM subjects
  2. The fourth industrial revolution is able to replace routinely activities that can be replicated, it is capable to replace activities that involve systems. What the industrial revolution cannot replace is the creative ability. Your creativity is now your greatest asset. This gives you room to create something original. Something that no machine can replicate. Invest in that. Invest in choosing to be creative. For starters, here are 29 ways to stay creative.
  3. A machine cannot replicate your emotional intelligence and complex communications. The educators of Africa need to ensure that they create emphasis and encourage students to be more emotionally intelligent. Your ability to deal with people who are different from you without getting personal is very crucial for your survival. Communicating clearly with eloquence is key in today's world as much as it is in the near future.

Buckle up, enjoy the ride and most importantly; refine your skills, remain creative, and have high emotional intelligence.