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South Africa Confronts The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) Era: Challenges, Pathways And Possibilities

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) has radically changed how we conduct our daily activities. These include banking, education, manufacturing especially in the automotive sector, social media, among others, in which digitisation and technology are playing an integral part in conducting business. The 4IR has brought with it artificial intelligence and robotics, and machines are replacing human capital albeit with devastating consequences. Migration to online banking has also led to huge retrenchments in the banking sector. Moreover, rolling blackouts, owing to many years of neglect in maintaining power stations, are impacting the economy negatively as the latter struggles to grow and fail to create jobs. Small businesses are also struggling to survive as they depend immensely on the power grid for the production of goods and provision of services to their customers. As a developing economy, South Africa is a member of G20, BRICS, African Union and has the opportunity to leverage a range of industrial development and 4IR platforms for a Just Transition. Has it done so? What are the pathways and possibilities?

Despite its enormous devastating impact, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the implementation of online learning in schools and universities and e-commerce. South Africa confronts the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) era: Challenges, pathways and possibilities demonstrates the significant technological strides made in various sectors, and appraises the progress and shortcomings that the country has made. The book also provides some insight into navigating the challenges of the digital divide, unemployment and rolling blackouts among others. The latter is a huge setback for the country as it was part of the uneven development of the previous industrial revolutions and the mining-energy complex. Therefore, need for a new Green Industrialisation 4IR model with massive investments in new skills development and systems as proposed by the ILO and UNIDO is an important pathway.

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