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Monica_55905 Nov 06

The 5th Industrial Revolution – will Africa take the lead?

The 5th Industrial Revolution – will Africa take the lead? image
By: Samuel Tumma, head of engineering at Aggreko Africa
With the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) already well underway across the globe, the attention is now shifting to the 5th Industrial Revolution (5IR). Across the globe, conversations are shifting from the technology which encompasses the 4IR to the human interaction with technology in the 5IR. While technology has the ability to eliminate the need for human engagement, I believe that with Africa being the birthplace of humanity, the continent is set to be a leading force in the 5IR, as it brings the human element back into play. 

There are visible signs of 5IR already on its way. This is clear in the number of start-ups emerging in South Africa, Nigeria, and other countries. This gives me the comfort factor that 5IR is really a story that is starting in Africa. This will however require that we put the right training in place to create the skills required to take the continent forward as a leader of the adoption of 5IR. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been deemed a technology that could cost countries crucial employment opportunities if the human element is removed to eliminate mistakes and machines run processes within different environments. In 5IR, however, new employment opportunities will be created, and the African continent could be at the forefront of this charge if we put the right skills development in place. 

We need to continue engaging the human brain to connect with machines. We need to humanize technology and make it work for us in this new era. We, therefore, need to be practical as the public and private sector and spend the money on research and development to ensure that we equip our continent’s people with the skills so that they can embrace new opportunities and the new jobs this transition will require.