Is Africa Ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

A smiling young woman writing a texto on her mobile phone.
A smiling young woman writing a texto on her mobile phone.

For a people who did not truly observe a change in previous revolutions, the fourth world is not one to be heralded with pomp and pleasantry. So despite Davos being a centre for such discuss, the fourth industrial revolution means nothing more than pure nomenclature to three quarters of the African race. It's just a name, a desire, a hope and a profound advancement of the west and a big conversation we would like to hash-tag to our local institutions at least so it trends not so much so it is deployed. Our struggle with bringing an understanding of the SDGs is enough mind work and then making it come alive in our conversations, communities, countries and continent is the business we want our noses in not the fourth industrial revolution! We will have all the time to get to the fourth industrial revolution well that is if you are all patient enough.

Well maybe because we do not know...we can't truly appreciate the revolution. The fourth industrial revolution means simply; Africans need to take a stand to improve on education in order to keep its people informed, literacy and economy. It means that climate change, access to education and youth unemployment are serious issues that must be addressed on a local and global level. It means that there is a vacuum for the youth and a lot of opportunity and need to learn better and more constructively. It means we cannot afford to stay complacent at the state of our classrooms while we wonder why the west would hire our best minds after educating them.

The fourth industrial revolution is the solution to climate change in Africa; Global warming endangers our health, jeopardizes our national security, and threatens other basic human needs. Our personal vehicles are a major cause of global warming. With the fourth industrial revolution will come electric cars and trucks use electricity as fuel, producing fewer emissions than their conventional counterparts. When the electricity comes from renewable sources, all-electric vehicles produce zero emissions to drive.

The fourth industrial revolution is the solution to education; Let's throw out the blackboards and contribute to installing white boards, let's bring apps that can teach our educated children how to read and how to write. Even though the world is more global than ever before, most of our daily contact still takes place locally starting in the classrooms be it formal or informal. It means our young people have to be given relevant skill in addition to know-how. They must be allowed to bring creativity into their lessons and also take the same out of their education for the sake of the challenges that will come with the workforce ahead.

These are just a few things we can look out for, what more do you think will change for Africa? We are on the border of a Fourth Industrial Revolution that will fundamentally change the way we work and live in the coming decades but what exactly does it mean to Africa? How does this conversation affect the lives of the old farmer in Abak Itenge or the unemployed youth in Accra? To begin with, understanding it, using it intelligently, will require a massive educational revolution because technological change has always been disruptive.

Is Africa ready for the fourth technology revolution?