‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’: Africa’s Opportunity or a Catastrophe in Waiting?

September 7, 2018 • East Africa, Events

‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’: Africa’s Opportunity or a Catastrophe in Waiting?

‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’: Africa’s Opportunity or a Catastrophe in Waiting?

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?

Experts from Europe and Africa 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, at a debate at eLearning Africa in Kigali, Rwanda on 28 September 2018.

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. He said today, “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.

“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 – 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.

eLA is also host to a major exhibition of new products, services and courses.
For more information about eLearning Africa, or to take part, please contact

eLearning Africa is the key networking event for ICT supported education, training and skills development in Africa and brings together high-level policy makers, decision makers and practitioners from education, business and government. Over 12 consecutive years, eLearning Africa has hosted 16,228 participants from 100+ different countries around the world, with over 85% coming from the African continent. More than 3,300 speakers have addressed the conference about every aspect of technology-enhanced education and skills development. Serving as a pan-African platform, the eLearning Africa conference is a must for those who want to develop multinational and cross-industry contacts and partnerships, as well as enhance their knowledge, expertise and abilities.

eLearning Africa 2018 – 13th International Conference & Exhibition on ICT for Education, Training and Skills Development
September 26 – 28, 2018
Kigali Convention Centre, Kigali, Rwanda

Organised by ICWE GmbH, Leibnizstrasse 32, 10625 Berlin, Germany
Hosted by the Rwandan Ministry of Education and the Rwanda Convention Bureau
Contact: Rebecca Stromeyer,, Tel: +49 (0)30 310 18 18-0, Fax: +49 (0)30 324 98 33

Gold Sponsors: Pearson, Appliansys, Moodle, Mohammed VI Polytechnic University
Silver Sponsors: Catalyst, Vital Source, LinkedIn Learning
Conference Sponsor: Oracle Academy, Altissa, Proctorio, Cengage, WildFire, Technology Partners

Partners: UNESCO, GIZ, Avallain Foundation & Swiss Contact, MasterCard Foundation, Internet Society, AADLC, iMOVE, Invest in Africa now!, IREX, e/merge africa

Staff Writer



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