Kenya is at a crossroads on what to do with 52 percent of workforce who are at risk of being jobless when companies begin automating their operations.
While the country seeks to double the contribution of the manufacturing sector to the economy over the next four years, economists argue that this could be mitigated through formulation of favorable policies and incentives that are not too prohibitive towards growth.
With the signing of the Continental Free Trade Area deal by 44 African states last month in Kigali, Rwanda, competition in the market is seemingly set to become stiffer.
This is likely to force companies to automate operations by investing in data analytics, robotics, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things among other technologies to drive growth
Over the next five years, the government expects to create 1.3 million jobs annually and grow the contribution of the manufacturing sector to the economy from 9.2% to 15%.
However, as automation is backed to catalyze this growth, there is the risk of job loses.
However, management Consultant Mwende Gatabaki says, investment in automation might not result to a desired outcome on cost, wages and productivity.
They were speaking at a digitization of manufacturing workshop organized by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.