Foreword

Is Africa digitally rattled?

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According to the World Economic Forum, the rise of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is adding intricacy to future economies and their employment outcomes. It’s understood that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is equivalent to unexplored growth in digitalisation and Internet connectivity. Digitalisation and Internet connectivity have the ability to drive Africa forward and would enable innovation, propel new business models and improve the delivery of public services.

Africa has become more stressed by services and less dependent on commodities. The African continent must cultivate digital skills as part of transitioning its population from low-skill and low-pay jobs to high-skill and high-pay jobs.

A key part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in terms of Africa would be that inclusive growth receives attention. Inclusive growth is a “concept that advances equitable opportunities for economic participants during economic growth with benefits inclined by every section of society”, according to the Future of Jobs and Skills in Africa report. There are three areas, which African leaders need to delve into in order to deal with the new challenges while addressing inclusive growth. Mobile-related technology is bridging the continent in unprecedented ways. At least 70% of the African continent now has access to mobile technology. By having this digital infrastructure, it allows new opportunities for poor Africans situated in rural and informal economies.

Secondly, an area that needs to receive attention from African leaders is disruptions that affect manufacturing technology. Disruptions being that the Internet of things and 3D printing are liberalising the access to technology and decentralising production. Furthermore, emerging African investors are re-imagining solutions suited to the African context. For African innovators to develop, policymakers need to provide a conducive intellectual property regime, which would make it easier to do business competitively.

Looking at the technological readiness of Africa, a lot of progress has been made. Mobile phone penetration is one of those areas in which Africa has made a large improvement. Investments in the grid infrastructure have also made it possible for mobile penetration to be possible.

Due to Africans being able to gain access to mobile phone technology, it has equipped them with new tools for managing their businesses and households.

Graça Machel stated that it is crucial that the Fourth Industrial Revolution does not leave anyone behind. The three previous revolutions left Africans behind and women, in particular, were abandoned. Including women will make business and common sense because women make up half of the African population and bring different skills and perceptions to bear on challenges.

 

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