The Future of Work in the Developing World

26 Feb 2019

Center for Global Development (CGD) president, Mr Masood Ahmed, delivered a public lecture on Automation and the Future of Work at The University of Queensland as part of an international visit with the University. ISSR's Development Effectiveness Group Leader, Professor Mark Moran, hosted Mr Ahmed on behalf of the University following a visit to CGD headquarters in Washington DC, USA to effect a Memorandum of Understanding between the CGD and the University.

Public Lecture


Technological innovation has been one of the principal drivers of productivity growth historically. However, it has also been a source of great disruption and it is possible that advances in technologies such as AI and automation may have a far broader impact than past waves of change. Concerns abound as to the impact on employment levels or abuse of new technologies. What has received relatively less attention is how technological forces will impact developing countries and the extent to which this impact can be shaped through policy choices.

While technology has opened paths to growth in digitally based fields such as IT support and offered steps toward formalization through platforms like Uber, it has also likely closed others such as certain types of manufacturing. What new paths will emerge to replace manufacturing as a source of growth? How will developing countries cope with the financial strain of improving social safety nets during a potentially volatile transition period? What is clear is that beginning this discussion now is crucial for policymakers to prepare for the coming changes.


About the CGD

The Centre for Global Development (CGD) is a leading global think tank in development policy and practice headquartered in Washington DC, USA. CGD focusses on the intersection of developing countries and the governments, institutions, and corporations that help them deliver progress. Scholars conduct rigorous, impartial analysis informed by experts from around the world, to shape intellectual debate and design practical policy solutions.

Development Effectiveness Group Leader, Professor Mark Moran, undertook a research fellowship at CGD in January 2018 which resulted in the current MOU between the Center and UQ. Work is under way to further this partnership through research in areas such as limited statehood (fragile states), aid effectiveness, private sector development, energy poverty, women peacekeepers, health, automation and the future of work. This research includes a focus on development policy and geopolitical tensions across the Indo-Pacific.

About Masood Ahmed

Masood Ahmed is president of the Center for Global Development. He joined the Center in January 2017, capping a 35-year career driving economic development policy initiatives relating to debt, aid effectiveness, trade, and global economic prospects at major international institutions including the IMF, World Bank, and DFID.

Ahmed is a leading expert on Middle East economics, having served on the Advisory Board of the LSE Middle East Center, as well as on the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on the Middle East and North Africa.

Born and raised in Pakistan, Ahmed moved to London in 1971 to study at the LSE where he obtained a BSc Honors as well as an MSc Econ with distinction.