The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ministers responsible for Education and Training and Science Technology and Innovation on 20 June 2018 held a Ministerial Policy Dialogue at Zimbali Resort in Durban, South Africa to deliberate on the position of SADC in relation to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The Policy Dialogue was held in the margins of the Joint Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Education and Training and Science, Technology and Innovation scheduled for 21 - 22, June 2018.
In her remarks, the Director of Social and Human Development at the SADC Secretariat, Ms. Duduzile Simelane thanked the Government of South Africa for its hospitality and support in hosting the meeting. Ms. Simelane pointed out that the dialogue was meant to discuss the position of SADC in relation to the Fourth Industrial Revolution which is envisaged to bring about fundamental changes to the economics of virtually every industry in the SADC region and the world at large.
The Deputy Minister of Basic Education for the Republic of South Africa, Honourable Enver Surty called on the Ministers to prioritise digitalisation and technology and innovation in order to achieve meaningful development in the SADC region. The Deputy Minister implored SADC to work quicker and harder to achieve the digitalization of data and connectivity, with particular attention on research collaboration on academic learning so as to change and transform the African Child.
During the event, the Director of Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project of South Africa Project, Dr. Bernie Fanaroff made a presentation under the theme “Digitization and Industry 4.0 Implications for Science Technology and Innovation and Skills Development”. In his presentation, Dr. Fanaroff said the effects of technology are gradually beginning to transform the world and bringing new experiences to humankind. He, therefore, urged the SADC region to work through joint projects and leapfrog directly to latest technologies and improve on technologies development, focused investment, provision of necessary infrastructure and continued support on existing expertise.
The other presentation was on digital skills delivered by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) while African Academy of Science (AAS) delivered a presentation respondent on digitization and Industry 4.0- Implications for Science Technology and Innovation and Skills Development.
Ministers noted the following challenges with regard to digitalization in the region:
Ministers came up with the following recommendations in order to address the above challenges: