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Expert warns Africa over emerging deployment of robots, automation in China

Former Executive Secretary of UNECA, and Professor, Graduate School of Development Policy and Practice, University of Cape Town, Guinea-Bissau, Carlos Lopes, has warned Africans to develop her economy to avoid losing out from emerging human job loss in China.

Speaking on the sidelines of the just concluded Africa 2017 Forum, in Egypt, he decried that many jobs that could move out of China could be replaced by robots and automation, not Africans.

He revealed further that other regions would also compete for the kind of jobs that Africa seeks – those at the lower end of the value chain.

“A few African countries will make it, but not all,” he said.

“This huge move to get jobs can be elusive if we are not fast enough in creating opportunities. The window is closing very fast. We need to move quickly and do so in a way that is commensurate with the interests of China’s strategy.”

The three-day event, organised by Egypt’s Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation and the COMESA Regional Investment Agency (RIA), saw over 2,000 delegates from 75 countries attend the Forum. Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr said that the forum’s sessions offered a chance to exchange expertise and showcase investment opportunities in Egypt and Africa.

However, the conference has put forward five recommendations including Pumping new investments in Africa to boost economic growth and development; The establishment of joint projects, particularly in infrastructure, to support investment and trade among African states; and Enhancing the role of the African private sector to increase investment rates in the continent.

Other recommendations include the execution of programs that encourage entrepreneurship and the adoption of programs that would increase youth’s participation in the African economy; Empowering women in all fields of economic activity, considering them as active members in the process of developing Africa and achieving economic stability.