Contribution of knowledge-intensive sectors to the COVID-19 in African countries

Contribution of knowledge-intensive sectors to the COVID-19 in African countries   Tyler Cowen wrote a bo続きを読む

SKY[Skills and Knowledge for Youth] ホーム Contribution of knowledge-intensive sectors to the COVID-19 in African countries

Contribution of knowledge-intensive sectors to the COVID-19 in African countries


Tyler Cowen wrote a book in 2013 entitled Average is Over, in which he said that the mechanization of labor in production through technology is causing declining wages for the middle class who have been put in that role. As a result, this situation created a disparity between those who use technology and those who cannot catch up and made the middle class disappear. Cowen’s point is suggestive of the way we confront labor and technology and is evident in the context of the current pandemic of COVID-19. With the world economy taking an unprecedented hit due to the spread of the infection, the impact of the shock on the supply side is visible in varying degrees, depending on the level of adoption of digital technology by companies. While companies which have well organized operations, skilled workers, and infrastructure, can seek out new forms of work such as remote work, other companies which do not have the ability to adapt are forced to close their business.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused tremendous damage to African countries. As of May, the total number of cases in Africa has reached 60,000, and more than 2,000 people have died(WHO 2020. The economic impact is also worsening, especially in Africa, where many businesses are informal, and micro-enterprises and are reported as having a high rate of bankruptcy (World Bank 2020). Although online learning due to school closures has been promoted in many countries around the world, it is difficult to spread in African countries since the internet infrastructure is generally underdeveloped in the continent(World Bank 2020).

In this context, the question is now being asked how African countries should respond to the pandemic of COVID-19. In April 2020, via “Africa’s Pulse,” the World Bank analyzed the economic impact of the COVID-19 on African countries and presented policy recommendations for the short, medium, and long term. The report emphazises and recommends the efficient use of mobile money when providing financial assistance since many of the people running micro-businesses do not have bank accounts. There are also reports of the use of drones to provide COVID-19 test samples in Rwanda and Ghana. Moreover, in Uganda, Makerere University has set up a coronavirus resource center, and the website provides information about the COVID-19 on a daily basis. As such, a knowledge-intensive sector that leverages technology has become a key factor for a rapid and comprehensive recovery of African economies. While the dichotomies that Cowen indicated will still be a challenge, innovation does not just create disparities, but in some aspects, technology and knowledge provide a comprehensive social infrastructure for a given country.

(Yujiro Yamazaki)


Cowen T. (2013) Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation. New York: Dutton.
Kretchmer H. (2020) “How drones are helping to battle COVID-19 in Africa – and beyond” World Economic Forum. (Accessed on May 12th 2020)
Makerere University Coronavirus Resource Center Website (Accessed on May 12th 2020)
World Bank (2020) Africa’s Pulse AN ANALYSIS OF ISSUES SHAPING AFRICA’S ECONOMIC FUTURE March 2020 Volume 21. Washington D. C. World Bank Group.
World Bank (2020) “Assessing the Impact and Policy Responses in Support of Private-Sector Firms in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Washington, DC: World Bank, Finance, Competitiveness, & Innovation Global Practice.
World Health Organization Regional Office fot Africa Website. (Accessed on May 12th 2020)