The countries of the Global North are at the forefront of the changes taking place because of 4IR. However, developing economies, such as South Africa, can still find a niche by investing in the technologies and new skills that are essential for this new world. A national 4IR readiness plan is a necessary starting point.
This is where the Fourth Industrial Revolution Partnership for SA (4IRSA) comes in. 4IRSA is an initiative driven by some of South Africa’s leading academic and research institutions, with the aim to produce a coherent and comprehensive national 4IR plan for the country. 4IRSA was founded by the Universities of Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg (UJ), and Fort Hare (UFH), with support from Telkom SA SOC Ltd. The partnership draws on the best South African traditions of dialogue, collaboration and negotiation to find lasting solutions. Though it is still at its infancy, the partnership will open its doors to all South African universities and research institutions, business, labour, government departments and civil society. 4IRSA is essentially the Codesa of the 21st century.
A workshop took place at the first round table discussion on Friday, 16 November 2018, at BCX Technology Park in Centurion, Pretoria. This round table was a frank and open discussion between the #4IRSA partners and government departments, research entities, corporates, and other stakeholders.