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Evening Sessions


  1. The 4th Industrial Revolution and the Future of Work and Education

Industry and industrial processes have evolved over time, with major technological advancements revolutionizing industrial production structures. The Fourth Industrial Revolution takes the automation of manufacturing processes to an unprecedented level, with the introduction of smart, autonomous systems that are capable of self-cognition, self-optimization and self-customization. Digital technologies will allow for new business models, value-producing opportunities and integration of production structure and IT infrastructure. While these processes present numerous opportunities for producers and manufacturers, they create a heightened level of uncertainty for policymakers and development practitioners. New challenges will arise in the nature of employment, educational systems and industrial policies. Experts are split on these issues, with many predicting major disruptions to the traditional work structure and the obsolescence of educational systems. Others are convinced that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will create more jobs and will not necessarily lead to global unemployment and education crises. For example, a recent UBS survey noted that despite the proliferation of robots in factories today, global unemployment actually level fell to 5.2% in 2018 - the lowest level in 38 years. Finding solutions to these specific challenges and exploiting opportunities is of utmost importance for the young. There is a need for continuous discourse among stakeholders – including innovators and policymakers. New approaches are needed to facilitate the adoption of frontier technologies without harming the environment or increasing inequality. 

  • What are the major challenges for young people as the Fourth Industrial Revolution unfolds? 

  • What are the available frontier technologies that can be leveraged to create productive work for the youth? Are they applicable to developing countries?

  • Do the social and economic returns from the 4IR outweigh the costs? 

  • What tools are available to global, regional and national policymakers to ensure a fairer global economy – reducing inequality between and within countries?

  1. Les accords Post-Cotonou : Quel renouveau du partenariat ? (in French with simultaneous translation)

La proximité géographique entre les continents africain et européen va de pair avec des relations économiques, politiques, socio-culturelles, mais aussi de nombreux défis communs – y compris sécuritaires et climatiques. L’Accord de Cotonou, qui régit les relations politiques, économiques et financières entre l’Union Européenne et 48 pays d’Afrique subsaharienne expire le 29 février 2020. Cet échange explorera ainsi la question de l’orientation stratégique et les priorités qu’il conviendrait de donner au nouveau partenariat entre l’Afrique et l’UE pour les deux prochaines décennies.

  • Quelles sont les leçons apprises des Accords de Cotonou ?

  • Quelles sont les priorités pour un partenariat renouvelé et ambitieux ?

  • Comment aligner cet accord avec les ODD et l’Agenda 2063 tout en encourageant l’implication du secteur privé ?

  1. Foreign Military Interventions in Africa

Cradle of a number of fragile states, Africa is a crisis prone continent and the main stage of foreign military interventions. Yet, many crises are the result of a cultural, political and historical differences that are largely domestic and instrumentalized by foreign interventions. The use of force within the borders of another sovereign state do not always lead to the expected result. Many such interventions have ended in failure.

In 1994, on the aftermath of the US withdrawal from war-torn Somalia, Ghanaian political economist, Georges Ayittey, coined the phrase “African solutions to African problems” (ASTAP). With this spirit of ASTAP becoming the main guideline for African states, the African Union is increasingly demonstrating its willingness and capability to solve continental crises.

  • What types of foreign military interventions in Africa exist and when are they effective?

  • Why is it that interventions have sometimes led to unexpected new problems?

  • Do foreign military interventions really help to stabilize the country? And what does it take to build local legitimacy?

  1. Agriculture-Jobs-Technology Nexus

Contributing about 16% of total GDP and employing more than 50% of the total active population, the agricultural sector is at the heart of African economies and should be at the center of development policies to address many of the challenges facing the African continent. The first challenge is to produce enough to feed the growing population. The second challenge is to create added value, and the third challenge is to reduce poverty and improve wages in rural areas, where poverty is concentrated. Technological progress is the main ingredient for improving factor’s productivities and the only way to ensure sustainable agricultural growth rates. However, the effect of the introduction of new technologies on job creation is still the subject of debate, as the adjustment process is likely to be long and the abandonment of obsolete technologies could lead to the loss of some jobs and thus to reduced employment opportunities.

  • What are the best technologies and technical practices that African agriculture needs to ensure inclusive economic growth?

  • What lessons should Africa learn from history in this regard?

  • How can African countries capitalize on its domestic expertise in agricultural innovation and reform?