The 4IRSA Partnership was founded in June 2018 in response to a public call to action by the CEO of Telkom Group, Sipho Maseko. A steering committee meets regularly to shape the agenda and framework.
An operational committee has been established to give effect to the 4IRSA Partnership strategy and objectives.
A public sector workshop was held on 16th November 2018 to surface different initiatives in various government departments and state institutions, and explore feasibility, desirability and mechanisms for aligning these. Participants included senior representatives from the Departments of Communication, Science and Technology, Trade and Industry, Public Service and Administration, the SA Reserve Bank, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the Human Sciences Research Council, Innovation Hub, the World Economic Forum and the 4IRSA Partnership. The workshop concluded with high levels of engagement and willingness to share processes more widely and seek better coherence between the various parties’ 4IR initiatives.
Four industry workshops have been held in 2019:
- ICT sector workshop, including fixed and wireless telecoms operators; IT systems integrators and service providers; industry associations; OEMs; global digital companies and OTTs; local entrepreneurs; and the regulator.
- Mining and manufacturing workshop, including mining, mineral beneficiation and processing; energy; bulk transport, and ancillary services.
- Agriculture, food and retail sectoral workshop, including agriculture, food and beverages manufacturing and distribution, and related wholesale and retail services.
- Financial technology workshop, including banking, insurance, legal, accounting and other professional services.
The objective of these workshops was to:
- Expose different collective 4IR-related activities within the sector.
- Share the 4IRSA partnership framework, process and aspirations.
- Explore sectoral disruption narratives to develop shared insight into modes of disruption and possible industry impacts.
- Initiate dialogue and get first level inputs on our five themes, with specific reference to sector-specific issues.
- Discuss follow up work and roadmap to the Digital Economy Summit.
During this period labour started to be engaged, with similar objectives. Representations from other stakeholder groups continue to be welcomed.
4IRSA hosted South Africa’s first Digital Economy Summit on 5 July 2019. The summit was backed by the Cabinet and various government departments. President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was a keynote speaker at the event, thanked 4IRSA for its work and expressed his confidence about with working with 4IRSA going forward. Around 500 high-level delegates across industries, government departments, labour, civil society and academia attended the summit.
The objectives of the summit were to:
– build alignment, participation and momentum for the 4IRSA process,
– share sector workshop outputs,
– agree on areas that require further research and deliberation, and
– enable delegates to pledge further participation and dialogue.
4IRSA is committed to regular and ongoing consultations with all stakeholder groups, as well as providing the platform to crystallise the most important debates around 4IR.
Therefore, the Digital Economy Summit is envisaged as an annual gathering for South Africans to deliberate on the latest 4IR developments and monitor progress on the country’s national response.