South Africa and World Economic Forum to establish 4IR Affiliate Centre
South Africa will soon join the World Economic Forum's Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network (C4IR Network) alongside China, India and Japan by launching an Affiliate Centre.
This comes as the world prepares for the unprecedented transformation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), enabled by the convergence of digital, physical and biological technologies which are disrupting existing industries and the production and consumption of goods and services.
The Forum established the C4IR in San Francisco, USA in March 2017 as a hub for global, multi-stakeholder cooperation to develop policy frameworks and advance collaborations that accelerate the benefits of science and technology.
The South African government, through the Department of Science and Technology (DST), intends to establish an Affiliate Centre as a public-private partnership based at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
To this end, the Minister of Science and Technology, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, will host the Head of the Forum’s C4IR Network, Murat Sönmez, at consultation meeting in Pretoria on Tuesday, 16 April.
The meeting, to be attended by representatives of industry and multinationals, will provide the DST with an opportunity to consult companies with a significant African footprint, to determine their interest in a public-private partnership model to support the Affiliate Centre in South Africa. In terms of this model, industry and government (through the CSIR) will co-fund the initiatives to be undertaken by the local Centre.
Dr Sönmez is expected to make a presentation on the C4IR Network, whose key portfolios include Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Robotics, and Smart Cities, and Digital Trade.
Affiliate Centres focus on issues of local concern, but also contribute to the overall research and thought leadership processes of the C4IR Network. Processes are under way to expand the C4IR Network with Affiliate Centres in several other jurisdictions.
In parallel with the consultation meeting, the CSIR will showcase its technologies that are aligned with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.