africa|business|DIGITALISATION|health|services|supply chain|systems|technology|water

South Africa risks more inequality if it does not digitalise, says WEF

5th March 2021

By: Marleny Arnoldi

Deputy Editor Online


Font size: - +

The World Economic Forum (WEF) finds in its latest ‘Global Risks Report 2021’ that Covid-19 has not only claimed millions of lives, but also risks widened long-standing health, economic and digital disparities.

The WEF, together with report collaborators professional services firms Marsh McLennan, SK Group and Zurich Insurance Group, says minorities who were disadvantaged before the pandemic could be at risk of missing pathways to the new and fairer societies that the recovery could unlock.

Globally, the acceleration of the digital transformation as a result of the pandemic promises significant benefits, for example the creation of almost 100-million new jobs by 2025.

Simultaneously, however, digitalisation may displace some 85-million jobs, and since 60% of adults lack basic digital skills, the risk is the deepening of existing inequalities.

It is also expected to expose businesses, and their customers, to significantly greater risks of cyberattacks.

Commenting on the findings, Marsh Africa CEO Spiros Fatouros says that, when it comes to access to technology and digital skills, the gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ could widen.

“This has the potential to particularly affect young people. This is why it is imperative that South African businesses work towards ensuring that, in accelerating their digital transformation programmes, they do not miss the opportunity for growth that comes with embracing sections of society who might not have access to the technology necessary to function in a digital first world.”

The WEF reports that the economic and societal fallout from Covid-19 will impact on the way organisations interact with clients and colleagues long after any vaccine roll-out.

As businesses transform their workplaces, new vulnerabilities are emerging, and rapid digitalisation is exponentially increasing supply chain disruption and cyber-exposures.

Cyber-risk (30%) and misuse of technology (29%) were identified in the report by senior business leaders as some of their biggest concerns – a water crisis (63%) was highlighted as the number one risk to doing business.

Fatouros believes every business will need to strengthen and constantly review its strategies.

“In 2020, the risk of a global pandemic became reality, something this report has been highlighting since 2006. As governments, businesses and societies begin to emerge from the pandemic, they have an opportunity to shape new economic and social systems that improve our collective resilience and offer the capacity to reduce inequality, improve health and protect the planet,” he adds.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



Environmental Assurance (Pty) Ltd.
Environmental Assurance (Pty) Ltd.

ENVASS is a customer and solutions-driven environmental consultancy with established divisions, serviced by highly qualified and experienced...


Our Easy Access Chute concept was developed to reduce the risks related to liner maintenance. Currently, replacing wear liners require that...


Latest Multimedia

sponsored by

Photo of Martin Creamer
On-The-Air (01/12/2023)
1st December 2023
Photo of Martin Creamer
Jupiter Mines, Copper 360 and DRDGold make headlines
1st December 2023

Option 1 (equivalent of R125 a month):

Receive a weekly copy of Creamer Media's Engineering News & Mining Weekly magazine
(print copy for those in South Africa and e-magazine for those outside of South Africa)
Receive daily email newsletters
Access to full search results
Access archive of magazine back copies
Access to Projects in Progress
Access to ONE Research Report of your choice in PDF format

Option 2 (equivalent of R375 a month):

All benefits from Option 1
Access to Creamer Media's Research Channel Africa for ALL Research Reports, in PDF format, on various industrial and mining sectors including Electricity; Water; Energy Transition; Hydrogen; Roads, Rail and Ports; Coal; Gold; Platinum; Battery Metals; etc.

Already a subscriber?

Forgotten your password?







sq:0.195 0.228s - 89pq - 2rq
Subscribe Now