South Africa needs to whittle the discussion down to an understanding on the one hand of what is happening in technological changes and relate that to the structure of the South African economy
The Industrial Development Advisor at the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Dr Nimrod Zalk says a grounded approach is needed by South Africa to move into the Fourth Industrial Revolution in order to maximise on the opportunities offered by new technologies. Zalk was speaking at a dialogue on Making Sense of the Fourth Industrial Revolution hosted in Sandton.
“Secondly, South Africa needs to look at its capabilities where realistically it can move to, and how best to take advantage of these implemental steps into the introduction of technology in order to address the very specific developmental challenges that we have in the country. These challenges are the structural and racial transformation in the South African economy,” said Zalk.
According to Zalk, South Africa needs to whittle the discussion down to an understanding on the one hand of what is happening in technological changes and relate that to the structure of the South African economy, especially the specific of our own economic structure and political economy. He said in turn the two must be linked to South Africa’s own developmental objectives with the accommodation of structural and racial transformation within the economy.
“These processes that affect technology challenge us to relook into our economy so that we can harness some of these technologies to address many serious long-term weaknesses which have been characterised by low investment and by lack of diversification of the kinds of investments that we will be making in the economy,” he said.
Zalk further added that South Africa needed to strategise around competitive economy that involve identifying development strategies for key sectors of the economy where a combination of looking at how technological changes challenge these particular sectors.
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterised by a confluence of technological, economic and social change which necessitates a reorientation of industrialisation. Developing countries such as South Africa and the broader African region need to proactively engage with the implications of expedited technological changes for processes of industrialisation and development,” concluded Zalk.