Bridging the Digital Divide to Scale Up the COVID-19 Recovery

2020-11-05T16:03:25-05:00November 5, 2020|

By Patrick Njoroge and Ceyla Pazarbasioglu

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Digitalization has in the past few years enabled developing countries in particular to leapfrog on financial inclusion. Countries like Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda and Tanzania have made great advances in connecting their citizens to financial systems by leveraging on mobile phone technology. […]

Digital Solutions for Small Businesses in the Middle East and North Africa

2020-09-22T13:45:41-04:00September 22, 2020|

By Inutu Lukonga

عربي, Français

Small and medium-sized enterprises dominate the business landscape in the Middle East and North Africa region. These enterprises account for more than 90 percent of the region’s businesses and, in some countries, contribute as much as 50 percent of employment and 70 percent of GDP.

Yet they face impediments to growth, and their contribution to employment is below potential. In much of the region, small and medium-sized enterprises are handicapped by limited access to credit, unfavorable business environments, and talent gaps.

Digital technologies present new opportunities for these businesses to achieve faster growth. Emerging technologies and broadband internet can facilitate operational efficiencies, innovation, access to markets and finance, and can enable firms to operate remotely during lockdowns. The flexibility of remote working can help integrate women and youth in the labor market.

But so far, small and medium-sized enterprises in the region have been slow to embrace digital technologies and e-commerce, and businesses trail governments and consumers in internet usage.

As consumers rapidly shift to online shopping and increasingly prefer rapid and convenient services, smaller businesses will need to adopt digital solutions to remain competitive and survive.

Because small and medium-sized enterprises […]

Women, Technology, and the Future of Work

2019-03-13T11:57:50-04:00November 16, 2018|

By Era Dabla-Norris and Kalpana Kochhar

November 16, 2018

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Women are currently underrepresented in fields experiencing job growth, such as engineering and information and communication technology (photo: Vgajic/iStock by Getty Images)

The way we work is changing at an unprecedented rate. Digitalization, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are eliminating many jobs involving low and middle-skill routine tasks through automation. […]

The Digital Accelerator: Revving Up Government in Asia

2019-03-13T13:58:38-04:00September 26, 2018|

By Vitor Gaspar and Chang Yong Rhee

September 26, 2018

عربي, 中文, Español, 日本語,  Português, Русский,

A driver from the Malaysian ride-hailing tech startup, Grab, picks up a passenger in Jakarta, Indonesia: digitalization is transforming Asia’s businesses and governments (photo: Afif C. Kasuma/iStock by Getty Images)

Asia’s digital revolution shows no signs of slowing down. From e-commerce giants like China’s Alibaba and Japan’s Rakuten, to ride-hailing, and digital payment tech startups, like Indonesia’s Go-Jek and India’s Paytm, and the widespread use of industrial robots for manufacturing, digitalization is changing the way the region’s businesses operate. […]

Chart of the Week: The Digital Divide in Asia

2019-03-13T14:03:53-04:00September 25, 2018|

By IMFBlog

September 25, 2018

Young people on their phones in Phnom Pehn, Cambodia: about 70 percent of the country does not have internet access and can’t participate in the digital economy (Samrang Pring/Reuters/Newscom)

The countries of Southeast Asia are young—more than half of its 643 million people are under 30— and together they live in an economy of $2.8 trillion. […]

Chart of the Week: Invest in Robots and People in Asia

2019-03-13T15:09:13-04:00August 29, 2018|

By IMFBlog

August 29, 2018

عربي, 中文, EspañolBaˈhasa indoneˈsia日本語,  Português, Русский,

An engineer adjusts a robot arm in a robotics plant in Shenyang, China, where industrial robots are widely used for manufacturing (photo: Yang Qing Xinhua News Agency/Newscom)

With about 1 million robots in use in Asia, robotics and automation mean economic risks and growth opportunities for the region. […]

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