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Robots threaten millions of jobs in developing countries

Staff Writer |
The increased use of robots threatens millions of jobs in developing countries, according to a new policy brief from UNCTAD.

The Policy Brief - “Robots and industrialization in developing countries” - finds that reshoring is happening slowly and is limited to certain sectors.

It advises developing countries both to embrace the digital revolution and to build local and regional markets that will make the reshoring less likely.

“The increased use of robots in developed countries risks eroding the traditional labor-cost advantage of developing countries,” the policy brief says.

“The share of occupations that could experience significant automation is actually higher in developing countries than in more advanced ones, where many of these jobs have already disappeared, and this concerns about two thirds of all jobs,” it adds, citing World Bank research.

Some reshoring has taken place, but the economy-wide effects have been minor so far.

“The slow pace of reshoring may partly be explained by tepid investment and sluggish aggregate demand [in the global economy] more generally,” the policy brief says.

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