Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), says the much talked-about technological revolution is already here and changing lives. “It is changing financial systems as well as central banking and their likes, even the IMF as well,” she notes.
Governments around the world, she advises, have to re-order educational systems to incorporate the learning of new technological innovations. Lagarde believes that countries that embrace the new technologies have more prospects for inclusive economic growth while those that fail to join the trend may wallow in poverty.
The Fund’s Chief points to how people around the world now have special personal relationship with technology, especially the cell phones that are now serious business tools, particularly in countries where access to the internet is limited.
She, however, cautions that technological innovations have the capacity to either enhance workers’ efficiency and productivity or throw less skilled workers out of jobs.
Ray Kurzweil, an inventor and futurist, has a balanced view as well. “Technology is actually aiding as many jobs as it is destroying,” he adds.
However, John Chambers, chairman, Cisco Systems, is more gung ho. He believes that technological innovations in the future will aid inclusive economic growth because “technology will create more jobs that it can destroy”.
Hilda Moraa, founder Weza Tele and Fintech, illustrates how technology could aid financial inclusion and economic development of less privileged people through the creation of digital platforms. She explains that mobile payment technology has revolutionised social lending in Kenya and enabled those who were formerly excluded from financial services to create and grow businesses.
By Dike Onwuamaeze