4th Industrial Revolution debate part of eLearning Africa conference
05-09-2018 10:47:00 | by: Nixon Kanali | hits: 2913 | Tags:

The world is heading towards a ‘fourth industrial revolution, according to technology experts. But is this good or bad news for Africans? Does it signify the approach of a new age of opportunity, in which Africa will leapfrog its competitors, or is it more likely to be a disaster in which jobs are lost, traditional industries are destroyed and Africa enters a new age of exploitation by western companies in control of frightening new technologies?

This is part of the discussions experts from Europe and Africa will engage in at the eLearning Africa conference to held in Kigali Rwanda on 28  September 2018. The experts will discuss the implications of a fourth industrial revolution, in which a fusion of technologies leads to a blurring of the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres. 

Opening speakers in the debate will be Dr. Bitange Ndemo of the University of Nairobi, a former Private Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communications in Kenya; Donald Clark, academic, commentator and edTech entrepreneur; Maximilian Bankole Jarrett, broadcaster, entrepreneur and former Director of Kofi Annan’s Africa Progress Panel; and Clarisse Iribagiza, CEO of the Rwandan company, DMM.HeHe. They will debate the motion that “This House believes Africa has nothing to fear from a ‘fourth industrial revolution’ and should seize the opportunity it represents.”

The debate will be chaired by former UK parliamentarian, Dr. Harold Elletson, a senior fellow of the Institute for Statecraft.

“The prospect of technology creating a fourth industrial revolution is a big issue for workers, citizens, businesses and governments throughout the world. It has potentially enormous implications for economic growth, employment and the way we lead our lives. Will it be good for Africa? It’s still not clear. There’s certainly a big opportunity there but there are also great dangers. One thing is certain, though: we need to think about it and plan for it.’’ Dr. Harold Elletson said.

“The eLearning Africa debate will get people thinking. Our speakers, who are all very eloquent and experienced, will argue the toss. Maximilian Bankole Jarrett and Donald Clark are both very controversial. They won’t pull their punches. And Bitange Ndemo is a cunning fox, who is a master of the parliamentary style of debate. It should be very lively, informative and entertaining.”

The eLearning Africa debate uses a parliamentary format, in which members of the audience (the House) have the chance to express their views after the main speakers. A vote will be taken at the end of proceedings. 

eLearning Africa, which is taking place over three days from the 26 to 28 September, is Africa’s largest conference on technology-assisted learning and training. It is being held this year under the patronage of the Rwandan Government and a roundtable meeting of African ministers of education, information and communications will take place on the opening day of the conference.