The Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is set to present to Cabinet after President Cyril Ramaphosa received its landmark report on the recommendations to harness the available 4IR opportunities.
The report was presented by Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams and the Commission’s deputy chairperson Professor Marwala Tshilidzi to Ramaphosa during a meeting on August 6.
The product of extensive research and multi-sectoral engagements held by the Commissioners, the report is centred on eight workstreams dealing with the impact of technological advancement on human capital and the future of work, as well as social and economic development.
Ramaphosa urged the Commission to place 4IR at the centre of economic recovery to enable the country to emerge from the damaging impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“South Africa must be a more technologically driven country that finds solutions that move us forward, with 4IR as a pivot for economic recovery.”
The Commission will shortly present to Cabinet before the report is published.
The Commission has made recommendations on strategic areas including investment in human capital; artificial intelligence; advanced manufacturing and new materials; the provision of data to enable innovation; future industries; and 4IR infrastructure.
Following its publication, the report will form the basis of a national discussion on how all sectors of society can contribute to a technologically-enabled future that brings about greater economic and social inclusion, and enhances the competitiveness of the South African economy.
In 2019, the President appointed the 30-member Commission to assist government in taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the digital industrial revolution that will position South Africa as a competitive global player.
The Commission, comprising leaders from academia, business and civil society, has deliberated on the opportunities that enable South Africa to craft a shared 4IR future, as well as the constraints that are currently in place, combining research and stakeholder engagements to generate a comprehensive view of South Africa’s current conditions and the prospects in the 4IR.
These deliberations have included international benchmarking, which has delivered insights into the possibilities for the competitive positioning of South Africa in the 4IR landscape globally.
The Commission has also examined the role of the State, as well as key institutional actors, in leading and resourcing the work that must be undertaken to ensure success.
“In this effort, South Africa will be positioned as both an adopter and innovator of solutions that will have impact and relevance nationally and globally. Digital transformation has to be harnessed to change the way we live, learn, work and govern,” Ramaphosa concluded.