Approximately 40 per cent of jobs globally will be disrupted because of AI (artificial intelligence) over the next few years, but the UAE is prepared to take on the challenge. That is according to the chief of International Monetary Fund (IMF), who was speaking at the World Governments Summit (WGS) 2024 on Sunday.
“Roughly 40 per cent of jobs over the next few years will be exposed to artificial intelligence,” said Kristalina Georgieva. “This is like a tsunami hitting the labour market. Some jobs will disappear altogether, jobs we don’t know exist will come and some jobs will be diminished.”
She urged all countries to be prepared for the new technology. “The level of preparedness for the arrival of AI is very different across the world,” she said. “We have countries like the UAE that are much better prepared but majority of countries are falling behind. We can only take advantage of opportunities if we are ready for them. Digital infrastructure and its accessibility to everyone is very important in terms of skills development for the new world of AI.”
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AI will be one of the main themes addressed by the summit due to its deep impact across various key sectors, and the potential major transformation it could bring to communities around the world. WGS 2024 will host over 100 personalities and leaders of giant AI companies, aiming to bring solutions that will empower governments to keep pace with AI developments and be fully prepared to deal with its challenges and utilise its great potential.
Kristalina also said that the expected GDP growth of the Middle East and North Africa this year will hit 2.9 percent — a figure lower than what was expected in October 2023. She said there were several reasons for it. “One is largely because of the short term cut in oil production,” she said. “Another is of course the shadow from the Gaza-Israel conflict and because of tight monetary policies. Slow growth outside the hydrocarbon sector is another factor.”
Gaza war and its impacts
Kristalina revealed that the economic impact of the Gaza conflict had been “devastating” for not just Gaza but across the region and the world.
“Activity in Gaza dropped by 80 per cent from October through December,” she said. “In the West Bank, activity dropped by 22 per cent. The Palestinian economy’s dire outlook is worsening as the conflict persists. We all know that only durable peace and political solution can change this prospect.”
She said the conflict has impacted the immediate neighbourhood. “It has affected tourism which is a lifeline for many,” she said. “Across the region and beyond, the impact is felt by rising freight cost and reduced Red Sea transit freight volumes. They are down by more than 40 per cent.”
She said unless the conflict was resolved immediately, it would have a lasting impact on the region. “The longer the fighting goes, the higher the risk of the conflict widening aggravating the economic risks,” she said.
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