The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) may be at its peak now but is one that started 120 years ago. In the 18th century, processes were manual and required hard labour.
Speaking at the second I4R for Africa summit hosted by CIO Africa, Doug Hunter, the Head of Customer and Ecosystem Enablement at SYSPRO Africa noted that it is characterized by the fusion of the digital, biological, and physical worlds, as well as the growing utilization of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, robotics, 3D printing, the Internet of Things, and advanced wireless technologies, among others, have ushered in a new era of revolution with (un)certain socio-economic for Africa.
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution and digitization is transforming Africa into a global powerhouse,” said Doug Hunter adding, “Mobile Technology is advancing so fast becoming the platform for improving the quality of data and service delivery while data is becoming like a fast person that needs constant feeding.”
Africa is well-positioned for a bounce-back post covid leveraging its manufacturing technologies. Improvements in Africa’s ICT sector have been largely driven by expanding mobile digital financial services. Technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain are attracting interest in Africa, as they have the potential to successfully address social and economic challenges in manufacturing.
“4IR technology will be transformational in manufacturing to help manufacturers start manufacturing what people want, not what people think people want,” he added.
Innovation is at the heart of the 4IR, it reinforces state and institutional capacity to drive and support innovation and create an enabling business environment that is essential for success. When individual African countries embrace these technologies, the continent will be better positioned for a post-covid recovery leveraging its robust manufacturing sector.
To make the most of the 4IR, Africa needs to identify new niches for the industry and leverage them to achieve sustainable, inclusive growth, and to take decisive steps to close the gaps in digital skills and infrastructure.