Although the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) was publicly announced in Davos in 2016, various elements related to what makes this new dimension has been ongoing for almost a decade. The term received wide publicity when German Chancellor Angela Merkel highlighted at the Hanover Fair in 2011, the emergence of Industry 4.0 to make German manufacturing more competitive.
Emergence of Industry Revolution 4.0
Industry 1.0: (1784) : Based on mechanical production equipment driven by water and steam power. Industry 2.0: (1870): Based on mass production enabled by the division of labor and the use of electrical energy. Industry 3.0 (1969): Based on the use of electronics and IT to further automate production. Industry 4.0 (today): Based on the use of cyber-physical systems.
The reason to say that the fourth industrial revolution is in full force today is due to the fact that velocity and impact of current breakthroughs is like never before. The innovations and advances are omnipresent led by strong emergence of fields like Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Internet of Things, Autonomous Vehicles, Biotechnology, Nanotechnology, 3-D Printing, Material Science, Quantum Computing and Energy Storage. The impact of such breakthroughs is so rapid that the fourth industrial revolution is evolving at an exponential pace, and disrupting almost every industry.
Opportunities brought by Fourth Industry Revolution
Industry 4.0 can play a vital role in raising the global income levels and take our current stand of living to a next orbit. Technology has made it possible to make products and services that enable us to lead a better life. This will drive gains within the efficiency and productivity of our current lifestyle, leading to:
Increase in global income levels
Enhanced quality of life with higher order technologies
Reduction in transportation and communication costs
Creation of new products and markets
Safer workplace as hazardous work is taken over by robots
Enhanced health services leading to longevity
Challenges of Fourth Industrial Revolution
On the contrary, one of the biggest challenges is that it could lead to even higher inequality, as emerging technologies take over labour intensive jobs. But, then Technology has always been destroying jobs, and it has always been creating jobs. Apart from this, the other challenges could be:
Security issues of data and maintaining privacy
Risk of greater inequality in labour markets
Decrease in real income of workers as machines take over
Displacement of workers by machines and artificial intelligence
Creation of higher order human jobs is always a concern when automated technologies takeover day to day jobs
The Six Drivers of Change in workplace brought by Fourth Industrial Revolution
The Fourth Industry Revolution with its opportunities and challenges will bring to the forth the new drivers of change in workplace and organizations. These are summarized as follows:-
Smart Machines & Sytems – tech can augment and extend our own capabilities.
Computational World – increase in sensors and processing makes the world a programable system;
New Media Ecology – new communication tools require media literacy beyond text;
Super Structured Organizations – social technologies drive new forms of production and value creation
Globally Connected World – diversity and adaptability is at center of operations.
The Skills of Tomorrow needed in the 4IR world
With the drivers of change as enumerated above, the skill-set that would be required by the “jobs- of –the- future” would change rapidly. Some of these skills are specified in the following info:-
New Media Literacy: ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms and to leverage these media forms for persuasive communication.
Virtual Collaboration: ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of the virtual team.
Cognitive Load Management: Ability to discriminate and filter information for importance and understand how to maximise cognitive functions.
Social Intelligence – ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions;
Computational Thinking – ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and understand data based reasoning.
Transdisciplinary – literacy and ability to understand concepts across multiple landscapes;
Mindset Design – ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes;
Need for Education 4.0 framework
One of the imperatives of the 4IR is human capital enhancements to be able to meet the knowledge and skills requirements. This, puts demand on knowledge production and innovation applications of knowledge. Also, changes in reading and learning habits need that educationalists devise new techniques.
The rapid pace of emergence of Industry 4.0 requires that Education 4.0 also leapfrogs from the current Education 2.0 framework to Education 3.0/4.0. Education 1.0: centuries of experience with memorization â€¨Education 2.0: Internet-enabled learningâ€¨Education 3.0: Consuming & Producing knowledgeâ€¨Education 4.0: Empowering education to produce innovation
Boitshepo Bolele is the Director of Hlanganani ICT Botswana, a BQA Accredited ICT Institute and Secretariat of WOMEN IN TECH Botswana Chapter, located at Unit 21 THE OFFICE, Tel: 3132255 / 72537788. You are invited to contact us for further engagement on the matter or to enroll for membership of WOMEN IN TECH Botswana Chapter.
This century is always looking at improving new super high speed technology to make life easier. On the other hand, beckoning as an emerging fierce reversal force to equally match or dominate this life enhancing super new tech, comes swift human adversaries which seem to have come to make living on earth even more difficult.
The recent discovery of a pandemic, Covid-19, which moves at a pace of unimaginable and unpredictable proportions; locking people inside homes and barring human interactions with its dreaded death threat, is currently being felt.
Member of Parliament for Kanye North, Thapelo Letsholo has cautioned Government against excessive borrowing and poorly managed debt levels.
He was speaking in Parliament on Tuesday delivering Parliament’s Finance Committee report after assessing a motion that sought to raise Government Bond program ceiling to P30 billion, a big jump from the initial P15 Billion.
Government Investment Account (GIA) which forms part of the Pula fund has been significantly drawn down to finance Botswana’s budget deficits since 2008/09 Global financial crises.
The 2009 global economic recession triggered the collapse of financial markets in the United States, sending waves of shock across world economies, eroding business sentiment, and causing financiers of trade to excise heightened caution and hold onto their cash.
The ripple effects of this economic catastrophe were mostly felt by low to middle income resource based economies, amplifying their vulnerability to external shocks. The diamond industry which forms the gist of Botswana’s economic make up collapsed to zero trade levels across the entire value chain.
The Upstream, where Botswana gathers much of its diamond revenue was adversely impacted by muted demand in the Midstream. The situation was exacerbated by zero appetite of polished goods by jewelry manufacturers and retail outlets due to lowered tail end consumer demand.
This resulted in sharp decline of Government revenue, ballooned budget deficits and suspension of some developmental projects. To finance the deficit and some prioritized national development projects, government had to dip into cash balances, foreign reserves and borrow both externally and locally.
Much of drawing was from Government Investment Account as opposed to drawing from foreign reserve component of the Pula Fund; the latter was spared as a fiscal buffer for the worst rainy days.
Consequently this resulted in significant decline in funds held in the Government Investment Account (GIA). The account serves as Government’s main savings depository and fund for national policy objectives.
However as the world emerged from the 2009 recession government revenue graph picked up to pre recession levels before going down again around 2016/17 owing to challenges in the diamond industry.
Due to a number of budget surpluses from 2012/13 financial year the Government Investment Account started expanding back to P30 billion levels before a series of budget deficits in the National Development Plan 11 pushed it back to decline a decline wave.
When the National Development Plan 11 commenced three (3) financial years ago, government announced that the first half of the NDP would run at budget deficits.
This as explained by Minister of Finance in 2017 would be occasioned by decline in diamond revenue mainly due to government forfeiting some of its dividend from Debswana to fund mine expansion projects.
Cumulatively since 2017/18 to 2019/20 financial year the budget deficit totaled to over P16 billion, of which was financed by both external and domestic borrowing and drawing down from government cash balances. Drawing down from government cash balances meant significant withdrawals from the Government Investment Account.
The Government Investment Account (GIA) was established in accordance with Section 35 of the Bank of Botswana Act Cap. 55:01. The Account represents Government’s share of the Botswana‘s foreign exchange reserves, its investment and management strategies are aligned to the Bank of Botswana’s foreign exchange reserves management and investment guidelines.
Government Investment Account, comprises of Pula denominated deposits at the Bank of Botswana and held in the Pula Fund, which is the long-term investment tranche of the foreign exchange reserves.
In June 2017 while answering a question from Bogolo Kenewendo, the then Minister of Finance & Economic Development Kenneth Mathambo told parliament that as of June 30, 2017, the total assets in the Pula Fund was P56.818 billion, of which the balance in the GIA was P30.832 billion.
Kenewendo was still a back bench specially elected Member of Parliament before ascending to cabinet post in 2018. Last week Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka, when presenting a motion to raise government local borrowing ceiling from P15 billion to P30 Billion told parliament that as of December 2019 Government Investment Account amounted to P18.3 billion.
Dr Matsheka further told parliament that prior to financial crisis of 2008/9 the account amounted to P30.5 billion (41 % of GDP) in December of 2008 while as at December 2019 it stood at P18.3 billion (only 9 % of GDP) mirroring a total decline by P11 billion in the entire 11 years.
Back in 2017 Parliament was also told that the Government Investment Account may be drawn-down or added to, in line with actuations in the Government’s expenditure and revenue outturns. “This is intended to provide the Government with appropriate funds to execute its functions and responsibilities effectively and efficiently” said Mathambo, then Minister of Finance.
Acknowledging the need to draw down from GIA no more, current Minister of Finance Dr Matsheka said “It is under this background that it would be advisable to avoid excessive draw down from this account to preserve it as a financial buffer”
He further cautioned “The danger with substantially reduced financial buffers is that when an economic shock occurs or a disaster descends upon us and adversely affects our economy it becomes very difficult for the country to manage such a shock”