The promise of a digital dividend for Africa is an increasingly shared aspiration. What does this mean and how is it likely to play out?
It has taken time, but today many experts have finally recognized not only the potential for Africa’s growth but also the possibility that its success in skipping over out of date technologies may well evolve into leading in new areas. Some have already started to embrace the concept of “Africa 4.0” and are positioning the continent, in all its variety, as a potential leader in the 4th industrial revolution. But what assumptions are being made to come to such a conclusion and what are some of the future implications? Digital technology provides global opportunities, so how can Africa take advantage of this? There is a growing expectation that the ‘Industry 4.0’ shifts could have a dramatic impact. But will they? Can they indeed help transform African economies? And, if so, then where are the biggest opportunities?
Ahead of a series of workshops and discussions in Cape Town this month that will be hosted by Thomson Reuters, this article and accompanying presentation seek to share some of the views we have heard during multiple discussions around the world. It first looks at some of the key Industry 4.0 changes that are emerging. It then asks where and how they may impact Africa in the future and what, given the shifts taking place, are some of the key challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. By no means complete in its analysis this initial perspective is intended as a stimulus for further debate. If you have any views, comments or other feedback on this, please do share and lets us know so we can refine, improve and enrich for a second version in November.