AI poses bigger threat to women’s jobs, warns IMF’s Lagarde

IMF chief Christine Lagarde (R) told CNN's Richard Quest that there were 3% more women's jobs vulnerable to AI than men's. (AFP)
Updated 10 February 2019
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AI poses bigger threat to women’s jobs, warns IMF’s Lagarde

  • Lagarde says women earn less and their jobs are more vulnerable to AI
  • She warns that post-Brexit Britain will be worse off

DUBAI: Artificial Intelligence, known as AI, poses a bigger threat to women’s jobs than men’s, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said on Sunday at the World Government Summit in Dubai.

“AI and fourth industrial revolution will have a more severe impact on women than men, because many of the tasks that are done by women are more routine tasks that are more easily automated and can be substituted by AI and other tech devices,” she said.

According to Lagarde, 11 per cent of women’s jobs will be affected by AI, opposed to nine per cent of men’s jobs.

She said that even her role would ultimately be impacted by the development of technology.

Lagarde also spoke of the current challenges faced by the world: Trade tensions and tariff escalation, financial tightening, Uncertainty related to Brexit, and finally the  accelerated slowdown of the Chinese economy.

Moderated by CNN’s Richard Quest, the IMF chief spoke of the fact that the UK will “never have it as good as it does now” due to its imminent departure from the European Union after it voted to leave the bloc in summer of 2016.

Apart from these, Lagarde highlighted the importance of trust for economic growth in countries and the detrimental effects corruption has on an economy.

“All corruption erodes trust and trust is at the heart of economic relations, the more corruption you have the slower the growth,” she said.


Saudi Arabia aims to achieve e-payment target of 70%

Updated 22 February 2019
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Saudi Arabia aims to achieve e-payment target of 70%

  • Reform plan seeks cashless society
  • E-payments could exceed $22bn in next four years

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia wants to achieve an e-payment target of 70 percent by 2030, a banking official told Arab News on Thursday, as the country moves toward becoming a cashless society.

Talat Hafiz, from the Media and Banking Awareness Committee for Saudi Banks, said online or cashless transactions were part of the Vision 2030 reform plan.

The Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP) was one of the initiatives to support the economic growth goals of Vision 2030, he added.

“Basically it is to transfer Saudi society from being heavily cash dependent in buying goods and services to a cashless society using digital and electronic payment,” he told Arab News. “One of the FSDP’s main targets is to increase and improve the percentage of non-cash utilization, from 18 percent in 2016 to 28 percent in 2020. However, the goal will increase of course with the target to 70 percent by 2030.”

Hafiz, in an Arab News column published earlier this month, said the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) had been encouraging electronic payments and settlements in order to reduce the reliance on cash.

SAMA had introduced a number of e-payment systems in the last two decades to help consumers and institutions, he wrote, such as the Saudi Arabian Riyal Interbank Express and the online bill payment portal SADAD.

Earlier this week Apple Pay was launched in the Kingdom, joining the cashless roster of payment methods available to Saudi consumers.

A cashback service operated by credit card companies, where a percentage of the amount spent is paid back to the cardholder, was introduced last year in Saudi Arabia.

An illustration of how direct debit works, courtesy of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA).

“All of these efforts collectively from the SAMA side are to reach the ambitious goal of the FSDP.”

Hafiz explained that e-payments saved time and effort and allowed people to access service and goods around-the-clock. 

“This is basically why SAMA is very active and now we see SAMA and the National Payment System are responsible and leading (the country) toward a cashless society by achieving the target set by 2030.”

Last February the Amazon-owned Payfort online payments service registered a new company in Saudi Arabia.

According to the “Payfort State of Payments 2017” report, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are the fastest growing markets in the region for electronic payments.

The report estimates that Saudi Arabia conducted $8.3 billion of payment transactions in 2016, showing 27 percent year-on-year growth.

E-payments in the Kingdom are expected to double over the next four years to reach more than $22 billion, the report added.