Artificial Intelligence Will Reshape South Africa’s Economic Development

AI are the buzz letters for the economic future in the United States and in countries around the world. AI will inject more than $32 million in labor productivity into the U.S. over the next 17 years. The World Economic Forum is projecting a loss of five million jobs by 2020. And in South Africa, 41 percent of the jobs will vanish because of AI. But AI is offering South Africa a chance to pull itself up by its economic bootstraps and become a BRICS nation that enjoys positive GDP growth over the next 20 years.

Reliable power is still a challenge in Africa, but AI will propel new growth in healthcare, financial services, agricultural technology, logistics, and skills development. Fintech companies in Africa are already reaching more customers and improving efficiency by tailoring products to specific markets. Africa is still the home of 2 billion people who don’t have access to traditional banking. But mobile penetration in countries like Ghana is giving Africans a chance to bank digitally. Africa is now the home of 15 of the top 20 mobile banking countries.

And when it comes to healthcare, Africa is dreadfully behind. Africa is the home of only two to three percent of the world’s doctors. Half the population doesn’t have access to modern medical services, but thanks to AI, Africans will be able to get remote diagnosis using new medical apps. Good healthcare is part of productivity, and Africa’s AI industry will play an important role in stimulating the country’s productivity.

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