On 23 October 2020, the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Ms Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, published the report of the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (PC4IR) in the government gazette.
The PC4IR, established and chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa, was tasked with a set of responsibilities under its terms of reference, including to propose the country’s overarching strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), as well as to make recommendations regarding the institutional frameworks and roles of various sectors of society within the broad plan.
As noted in the report: “The possibilities and prioritisation of pathways presented by the 4IR are given material direction and purpose within the South African National Development Plan (NDP) towards 2030. The NDP, South Africa’s long-term development strategy, contains critical targets for the eradication of poverty and the reduction of unemployment and extreme inequality. Thus, in evaluating the socio-economic impacts and opportunities of the 4IR, there is an opportunity to address the core concerns of the NDP and in so doing, provide a policy-embedded path towards our constitutional objectives in the context If a significantly improved and altered future.”
The report makes the following key recommendations:
- Invest in human capital related to 4IR.
- Build infrastructure and own some significant 4IR infrastructure, such as hyperscale data centres, fibre-optic network and undersea cables.
- Create platforms for citizen participation.
- Establish creative artificial intelligence, big data analytics, blockchain and cybersecurity
- Own government strategic data and secure citizens’ data
- Incentivise future industries and applications of 4IR technologies.
- Update regulation.
The full report can be downloaded here (9mb).
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