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Emerging African Economies:Digital Structures, Disruptive Responses and Demographic Implications

Nwaobi, Godwin (2019): Emerging African Economies:Digital Structures, Disruptive Responses and Demographic Implications.

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Abstract

Indeed, the world economy is a complex system that has undergone many different phases in the past century. Particularly, the African economy is undergoing a series of transformations (transitions) that subject the future to considerable uncertainty, complexity and unpredictability. In fact, some transformations are cyclical while others are longer-term and more structural in nature. Yet, these transitions or emergence interact in shaping the future; making extrapolation from the past an increasingly unreliable source for future predictions. Thus unlike the previous revolutions, the fourth industrial revolution is characterized by the emergence of various technologies such as virtual (augmented) realities, nanotechnologies, 3D printing, machine learning, big data, cloud computing, drones, autonomous vehicles, robotics, artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies. Again, in this digitization era, work is constantly reshaped by technological progress, while firms adopt new ways of production and markets expand. In other worlds, digital technology brings opportunity, pave the way to create new jobs and increase productivity. Unfortunately, this paper argued that while the digital revolution has forged ahead, its analog complements (regulated entry and competition, new economy skills access and accountable institutions) have not kept pace in Africa. Consequently, African governments should formulate digital development strategies that are much broader than current ICTs strategies. That is, they should create a policy and institutional environment for technology that fosters the greatest benefits to African people of twenty-first century and beyond.

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