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If South Africa wants to create its own Silicon Valley, it needs to be a more entrepreneurial state and focus its energies on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“Given what we know today about the potential beneficial impacts of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), we must embrace this historic confluence of human insights and engagement, artificial intelligence and technology, to rise to the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality,” he said week at the first South African Digital Economy Summit.
South Africa has the continent’s most sophisticated economy, with a strong financial services industry and robust mobile market. But, with the world’s largest reserves of gold, and significant mineral resources, much of the country’s previous development has been linked to mining and manufacturing.
“The digital revolution calls on the state itself to be a risk taker; to be entrepreneurial,” Ramaphosa said. “The digital revolution is an opportunity to build an entrepreneurial state, where government’s own appetite for risk and innovation inspires large-scale entrepreneurship and unlocks economic potential.”
“An entrepreneurial state should not only provide funding but should also have capacity to determine the strategic direction of entrepreneurship,” he added.
Ramaphosa has established a high-level advisory panel of CEOs, academics and investors and other industry heavyweights; while the 4th Industrial Revolution Partnership for SA (4IRSA) is a partnership of the government’s communications department, state-owned telecoms utility Telkom, and the Universities of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and Fort Hare.
Quoting figures from Accenture, Ramaphosa said “digital technologies can generate R5 trillion in value for South African industry and society in the next decade. Accenture anticipates that this value will materialise particularly in agriculture, infrastructures, manufacturing and financial services, with R1.4 trillion created by 2026 alone”.
July 12, 2019 at 05:12AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs