Countries that do not anticipate and adapt to the changes of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) will be left behind and find themselves less competitive, President Cyril Ramaphosa says.
The President was responding to oral questions in the National Assembly on Thursday.
He said 4IR is changing and reshaping practically everything that human beings do.
“[It is changing] the way we live, the way we interface with each other, the way we make things, the way we use the resources in the world, the way we communicate, the way we learn, the way we work and it is also having an impact on the way we govern and the way we do business.
“So its scope and speed are quite unprecedented. Countries that do not anticipate and effectively adapt to these changes will be less competitive and have greater difficulty in achieving sustained growth as well as employment,” he said.
The President said South Africa needs to move with greater focus and urgency to develop the skills, human capital, institutions and strategies that are required to seize the advantages of this technological change.
He said it was for this reason that he established the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution to develop plans to position the country for this era.
The initiative is aimed at equipping young South Africans with the skills they will need to thrive in the workplace of tomorrow.
New heightened investor interest in South Africa
The President said, meanwhile, that Team South Africa — which recently went to the World Economic Forum in Davos — is amplifying the message that the country is well on a path of growth and renewal.
“…From government and the business sector, we conveyed a message that SA’s focus is on securing massive investments to ensure that we have growth and job creation.
“We reported to the forum, through the various sessions that were held, of the intensive engagement that we are having with business to promote investment opportunities to identify obstacles and resolve barriers that have been identified.
“We outlined the agreements that have been reached with business and labour on measures to accelerate job creation, economic reform measures that we have undertaken to promote growth and restore investor confidence in our country,” he said.
The President said Team South Africa also spoke about the measures that have been taken to end State capture and to tackle corruption.
“…Those that we are interacting with… in the whole world know what has been happening in our country and we informed them that we have taken measures and steps – and some of those are underway – to restore good governance and financial stability, particularly at State-owned enterprises.
“This message was well received by everyone we interacted with. Several members of Team South Africa observed that there was a new and heightened interest in South Africa in Davos this year.
“We felt that working together as a united, cohesive team, we were able, without ignoring the substantial challenges that we are faced [with], to present a credible vision of a growing, inclusive South African economy. And this message was well received,” the President said. – SAnews.gov.za