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AFRICA 4.0
Opportunities
for Africa from
Industry 4.0?
www.futureagenda.org
2
The promise of a digital dividend
for Africa is an increasingly shared
aspiration. What does this mean and
how is it likely to play out?
It has taken time, but today many experts have finally recognized not only the
potential for Africa’s growth but also the possibility that its success in skipping
over out of date technologies may well evolve into leading in new areas. Some
have already started to embrace the concept of “Africa 4.0” and are positioning the
continent, in all its variety, as a potential leader in the 4th industrial revolution. But
what assumptions are being made to come to such a conclusion and what are some
of the future implications? Digital technology provides global opportunities, so how
can Africa take advantage of this? There is a growing expectation that the ‘Industry
4.0’ shifts could have a dramatic impact. But will they? Can they indeed help
transform African economies? And, if so, then where are the biggest opportunities?
Ahead of a series of workshops and discussions in Cape Town this month that will be
hosted by Thomson Reuters, this article seeks to share some of the views we have heard
during multiple discussions around the world. It first looks at some of the key Industry 4.0
changes that are emerging. It then asks where and how they may impact Africa in the future
and what, given the shifts taking place, are some of the key challenges and opportunities
that lie ahead. By no means complete in its analysis this initial perspective is intended as
a stimulus for further debate. If you have any views, comments or other feedback on this,
please do share and lets us know so we can refine, improve and enrich for a second version
in November.
Foresight vs. Insight
As we are seeking to anticipate emerging
shifts, first let us review the background
and context of foresight and insight.
Looking ahead is always fraught with
debate on what is possible vs. probable
and what it certain vs. uncertain. As no one
really knows the long-term future, useful
foresight has to embrace uncertainty. While
short-term insight about potential shifts
over the next twelve months may have
high levels of confidence, looking out 3
to 5 years or longer into the next decade,
requires us to be more comfortable with
what may be possible – rather than what
will be certain to happen. In addition,
people often like to discuss what they think
should occur instead of more pragmatically
focusing on what will happen. However
to really use foresight effectively we need
to both look beyond trends and envision
different credible narratives and scenarios
for change.
As companies, governments and global
NGOs seek to place more intelligent
bets on future opportunities, we all need
to better understand what may be. In
order to help this, in 2009 we created
the Future Agenda – a platform that has
become the world’s largest open foresight
program. Run as a global dialogue across
all continents, it accesses multiple views
of the next decade so collectively we can
all be better informed and thus stimulate
innovation. We challenge, curate and
collate what leaders think may unfold via
over discussions with thousands of experts
across more than 50 countries. It is from
this perspective that we are here to explore
the Africa 4.0 question.
3
INDUSTRY 4.0
Ahead of discussing impacts for Africa, we
should frame what is meant by “4.0” and in
particular the expectations about Industry
4.0 and associated shifts.
Industry 4.0 is the term now being widely
applied to the growth of automation and
data exchange in manufacturing - and
beyond. It includes the IoT (Internet of
Things), cloud computing, cognitive
computing and cyber-physical systems
and is often also referred to as the Smart
Factory. It was first shared by the German
Government around 5 years ago to provoke
thinking on how emerging changes in
and around digital could / would impact
some core drivers of the future economy.
Stemming from several German-led
initiatives around the future of digital
production, it has become an increasing
focus for many within industry.
McKinsey has labelled Industry 4.0 as
‘Manufacturing’s Next Act’. It is a world
where smart factories feature decentralized
systems that seamlessly collaborate
with each other with exceptional levels
of productivity and quality. Rather than
producing things in large volumes in
massive facilities, it enables manufacturing
to become smaller and more distributed.
In this world, component manufacture,
assembly, testing and packaging are all
more flexible, faster, cheaper and more
effective. This has become a core focus for
multiple companies ranging from Siemens,
SAP and Bosch to Hitachi and Mitsubishi
and the changes in how things are made
will have major impact on production,
access and supply chains. As we move
to a system built around new capabilities
such as 3D printing and open supply webs,
manufacturing will become far more efficient
and localised.
Outside the ‘Smart Factory’, many are
preparing for a world in which the IoT, AI,
machine learning and autonomous vehicles
all connect and merge – a world where
data and digital infrastructures dominate.
We are already heading in that direction:
According to IBM, over 1 trillion sensors
will soon be integrated across multiple
networks: everything that can benefit
from a connection will have one. As was
highlighted in some of our 2015 discussions
on our ‘future of connectivity’ hosted by
Nokia, we will soon be able to deliver
10,000x more data 100x more effectively.
As well as driving a significantly improved
digital backbone, this “always-on” fully
connected ecosystem will enable a host of
further developments.
McKinsey has labelled
Industry 4.0 as
‘Manufacturing’s Next
Act’. It is a world where
smart factories feature
decentralized systems
that seamlessly
collaborate with each
other with exceptional
levels of productivity
and quality.
According to IBM,
over 1 trillion
sensors will soon be
integrated across
multiple networks:
everything that
can benefit from
a connection
will have one.
4
Transport
Currently one of the most popular
technology innovations with the general
public is the idea of autonomous vehicles
- led by Tesla, Google, Uber and a host of
established automotive brands. However
leading experts see that the shift to fully
autonomous transport will begin with
moving goods not people, most likely
starting with truck platoons on highways
and small urban delivery pods. In parallel
a growing number of cars, increasingly
more connected, will create the network
and help to build and test the technologies
for the eventual, revolutionary, driverless
experience that many anticipate.
Real time analytics is another field that will
have significant 4.0 impacts - and will cut
across many sectors. This will combine with
pervasive data sharing and machine learning
to provide all parties with instant diagnostics
and predication. The effect of this will apply
equally across multiple sectors such as
healthcare, retail and energy as well as
to areas such as vehicle safety, optimal
scheduling of trains and the maintenance
and self-repair of industrial equipment.
Finance
Elsewhere, in the world of finance many are
betting on the rise of digital money. They
believe that, although there will not be a
100% shift within the next decade, cash will
continue to be gradually replaced by digital
money, providing consumers with more
convenience and choice, organisations with
lower cost transactions, and governments
with greater transparency. As was frequently
highlighted in our future of payments
discussions, 97% of the world’s money
is already digital. As the grey economy
recedes in some markets and lower cost,
more transparent transactions rise, by 2030
globally we may have reached 99% and
wider adoption of new platforms such as
“Bitcoin plus” and many other alternative
cryptocurrencies will allow a host of new,
more personalised and efficient offers to
proliferate. Block-chain and the distributed
ledger is seen by many as the key platform
for this transformation.
Leading experts see
that the shift to fully
autonomous transport
will begin with moving
goods not people
Cash will continue
to be gradually
replaced by digital
money, providing
consumers with more
convenience and
choice, organisations
with lower cost
transactions, and
governments with
greater transparency.
5
Data Ownership
Underpinning all of these changes is the
increasing debate about data ownership.
The public, in some regions, is slowly
becoming wise to the value of their personal
information, something that until recently
they have been happy to share in return
from the likes of a free email address,
Facebook account or shopping discounts.
Soon we may all recognize the value of
our digital shadows, those little puffs of
information we carelessly give away online.
A good number of the data fraternity see
that, as awareness grows, we will want to
retain more ownership and only opt to share
our data for a financial return. Some of us
may even employ privacy agents to curate
our own and our stakeholders’ data sets
while personal data stores such as digi.me
will, several believe, increasingly give us
transparent control of our information.
One of the much-debated outcomes
of all of this is the potential rise of data
marketplaces. The argument goes that if
data is a currency, then it has a value and a
price, and therefore requires a market place.
Several major IT firms are already working
on trading platforms to accommodate this
– these are fast emerging and are based on
the premise that anything that is information
can be represented across a number of
marketplaces. Think of stock exchanges
for data – but operating in four dimensions
rather than just two.
This amount of change in a comparatively
short period does not sit easily with
everyone. Many are increasingly questioning
the human impact of the new developments
– especially on jobs and on society where
a growing digital divide seems to benefit
the few at the expense of the many. There
is, for example, both enthusiasm for and
fear that machine learning will start taking
control of some of our key systems.
Advocates, however, see that with the
rise of AI and autonomous computing,
machine learning will increasingly be put
in control of managing our infrastructures
and this will be of benefit to us all, not least
by reducing inefficiencies. Google has
already used machine learning to good
effect and, for example, applied its Deep
Mind AI capabilities to reduce the energy
requirements for its data servers - quickly
realizing efficiency savings of around 50%.
New Threats
While many of the outcomes of Industry
4.0 and the wider digitisation of our world
are positive, there is inevitably a flip side
to the anticipated changes, for example
growing cyber terrorism. Whether from a
kid in his bedroom, a rogue nation state or
a cyber caliphate, the threat from digital
warfare is now seen as significant. Digital
manufacturing and transport systems are
naturally popular targets for hackers and
cyber terrorists. The same is true of water
supplies, power stations, telecom networks
and buildings as they all become even
more connected. Pervasive connectivity of
everything combined with relatively weak
security systems present an open door
for a sustained denial of service. Many
organisations and governments are urgently
seeking to mitigate this risk.
If data is a currency,
then it has a value and
a price, and therefore
requires a market
place.
With the rise of AI
and autonomous
computing, machine
learning will
increasingly be put in
control of managing
our infrastructures.
Pervasive connectivity
of everything combined
with relatively weak
security systems
present an open door
for a sustained denial
of service.
6
FUTURE AFRICA
If all these changes are taking place globally,
a key question for the Africa 4.0 ambition
is how and where they intersect with the
future direction of Africa itself. Given the
increasing significance of data and all things
digital over the next decade, what are the
core expected shifts for the world’s fastest
growing continent?
There is no easy answer, not least because
of the sheer size and diversity of Africa.
With a land mass bigger than India, China,
the US and Europe combined, few can
doubt the scale of Africa or its variety. It
has 54 nations, 10 sovereign territories
and is home to 1.2 billion people whose
life expectancy, dependent on nationality,
ranges between 45 to 74 years. It is a
continent rich in natural resources but poor
in good governance. All ten of the world’s
youngest countries are in Africa and the
population is expected to double by 2050.
80% of that growth is expected to occur
in cities, but mainly in the slums. Young
people account for about 20% of the
population, 40% of the workforce and 60%
of the unemployed. Currently the World
Bank estimates 330 million Africans live on
less than $1.25 a day and yet some African
economies have recorded the fastest
economic growth worldwide over the last
ten years – and the IMF expects many
to continue this trend. Last year however
average GDP in sub-Saharan Africa grew
by just 1.4%. Income per person fell.
Unlike Europe or Asia, Africa has
not benefited from an industrial or
manufacturing revolution. For every ten
workers that move from the countryside
to the town, only two have found their
way into industry. For others moving from
agriculture to low-margin labour-intensive
manufacturing such as clothing and toys is
increasingly difficult – they not only have to
face the challenge of competition from low-
wage workers in South Asia but, at home,
robots may now threatening to take away
jobs. The service sector provides some
opportunity - cities like Nairobi offer new
jobs for skilled professionals in technology
and finance - but most people lack the
required skills and education to really
benefit from this.
With a land mass
bigger than India,
China, the US and
Europe combined, few
can doubt the scale of
Africa or its variety.
Africa Connectivity
Many believe that connectivity is key to
addressing the problem and this has been
a huge area of growth, particularly for Sub
Saharan Africa that currently accounts for
one tenth of global mobile subscribers.
According to recent research by MasterCard
/ Tufts University connectivity in the region
is highly varied but, in some countries, is
expected to grow significantly in the next
5 years. However, it not just about basic
mobile access, and the GMSA, for one,
highlights the smartphone gap. Looking
at 3G / 4G network coverage and related
smartphone penetration, today only South
Africa is better connected than the global
average. Improving 3G / 4G coverage
across the nations within ECCAS, EAC and
ECOWAS from 25% to 75% will require
considerable investment but will generate
huge returns. According to the World
Bank, every 10% increase in high-speed
connectivity in a developing country could
result in a 1.3% increase in GDP.
Major advances are already being made.
For instance, according to a recent report
by Akamai, Kenya’s Internet is faster and
cheaper than that in many countries around
the world - ranking 23 out of 108 countries
sampled globally. A fast and reliable
internet in Kenya has already significantly
influenced the improvement of e-commerce,
generating significant social, and economic
benefits for the country. With the growth of
satellite enabled connectivity, high-speed
broadband is now also coming to key
cities across other countries – including
the DRC. With Facebook and others’ new
ventures also supporting significantly
improved internet access across many
African nations, future expectations of
more fully connected economies are high.
It’s important however to keep this in
perspective, Africa still needs fundamental
infrastructure, better roads, sanitation,
housing and so on. Digital technology can
only work if there is power and only about a
third of people in sub-Saharan Africa have
access to grid electricity.
Innovation
Looking ahead, as Africa becomes more
driven by services and less dependent on
commodities there is a growing perspective
in government and corporate circles that
economic growth, a rising middle class,
better digital connectivity and greater
transparency will drive concerted progress
across the continent and not just in the
‘richer’ country pockets of South Africa,
Angola, Nigeria and Egypt but in the likes of
Ethiopia, Kenya, Botswana, Sierra Leonne,
Cameroon and Ghana as well.
It’s not difficult to find examples of
ambitious, transformative innovation. Take,
for example off-grid connections, which
will within a few years, outstrip the rate at
which people are being connected to the
grid. Africa is leapfrogging power lines in
much the same way that it has already
adopted mobile phones and bypassed
fixed-line telephone networks. Kenya
is rapidly also becoming a leader in the
provision of low-cost services to a growing
middle class. Building on the success of
m-Pesa, it is widely recognized as a leading
hub for mobile payments. Technology
hubs, where startups cluster in shared
office space, in Nairobi, Cape Town and
Lagos are producing promising companies
and attracting international attention. Last
year African tech firms raised $186m in
funding, reports Disrupt Africa, and with
Africa Internet Group it has finally produced
a “unicorn” - a tech company valued at
more than $1 billion. There is a way to
go of course, many start-ups are beset
with problems around power shortages,
unreliable internet connections, and high
bank rates but such is the extent of change
that recent analysis suggests that with
increased investment and interest from the
likes of Facebook, in the future it will be an
African city such as Nairobi which could
become a world centre for global innovation.
A fast and reliable
internet in Kenya has
already significantly
influenced the
improvement of
e-commerce,
generating significant
social, and
economic benefits
for the country.
in the future it will be
an African city such as
Nairobi which could
become a world centre
for global innovation.
7
Climate Change
Despite this surge in economic opportunity,
Africa is particularly vulnerable to the
expected change in climate and this will
impact its growth. As the world warms
by between 2o
C and 4o
C, Africa is, as
a whole, expected to warm up to 1.5
times faster than the global average. Key
implications include flooding in major
cities such as Dar es Salaam and Lagos,
severe droughts, lower food yields and
the migration of tens of millions north. As
western media headlines are made by
more flooding in a few notable locations
the US and SE Asia, the impacts in Africa
are going to just as significant – if not more
extreme. Few coastal cities beyond those
in The Netherlands have been designed to
accommodate regular flooding.
The impact of climate change is already
affecting behaviour in terms of location,
energy consumption and food safety
requirements however the determination to
do something transformational to address
this is self-evident. Take for example the
Great Green Wall Initiative which today
involves some 21 African countries and
is an $8bn 4,000-mile effort to stymie
the environmental devastation of climate
change. Recent projects include abating soil
erosion and improving water management
in Nigeria, agri-business development in
Senegal and forestry management in Mali.
Each country has taken its own approach
to achieving shared goals. Some focus on
community planning through education,
while others are expanding investment in
technology and training for farmers. Since
the project started, 15m hectares of land
have been restored in Ethiopia and 20,000
jobs have been created in Nigeria.
AFRICA 4.0?
So how do the changes envisaged across
Africa intersect with the opportunities
from Industry 4.0? What will Africa 4.0
become and deliver from the 4th industrial
revolution? The answer, it appears, is less
about the cyber-physical core around
production but more about the wider
opportunities from digital identities, block-
chain and greater transparency. Although
3D printing and distributed production
will have an impact, many see the bigger
opportunities to lie elsewhere
Take for example, energy. Some suggest
that incorporating AI algorithms into the
management of solar supply and demand
networks can significantly improve the
efficiency of energy consumption via
localized smart grids - where everyone is
an energy producer and consumer. Multi
award—winning M-Kopa and Broxx solar
systems are already part of the m2m
(machine to machine), IoT mix. Across
Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya M-Kopa has
integrated mobile payments into energy
access. Moreover, building on the success
of the Lake Turkana Wind Power project in
Kenya, similar larger-scale installations can
also potentially be integrated with more
intelligent management systems with real-
time monitoring and analytics maximize
yield and reliability.
As the world warms by
between 2o
C and 4o
C,
Africa is, as a whole,
expected to warm up
to 1.5 times faster than
the global average.
Incorporating AI
algorithms into the
management of
solar supply and
demand networks can
significantly improve
the efficiency of energy
consumption via
localized smart grids.
8
Better Governance
Much of the envisioned Africa 4.0 change
will require more integrated, connected and
smarter government. Many are anticipating
that in several African nations greater ICT
access and broadband adoption will soon
improve both government efficiency and
transparency. With the private sector as a
priority, the Smart Africa Manifesto has, for
example, been endorsed by most and a
number of partnerships are now in motion.
Linked to this, but also having wider impact,
will be the roll-out of digital identities. As
technology such as multi-factor biometrics
and widespread fingerprint-driven identity
verification takes hold, authentication
and engagement of the wider population
increases. As in India, digital identities will
open the door to better, more transparent
government; to improved banking
and to hence to increased economic
empowerment.
Financial Inclusion
Concerning digital money, improving access
to, as well as trust in, new banking platforms
is expected to significantly enhance financial
inclusion. While the potential from block-
chain is all the buzz in many circles, for
significant change to have lasting impact,
some see the need for alignment of
technology, socio-economic opportunity,
and a supportive legal environment: From a
regulatory perspective, although Kenya was
a pioneer in mobile payments, the DRC is
now seen by some globally leading financial
service companies as one of the most
proactive nations in the world for mobile
payments. In addition, there is the potential
to create a more so-called ‘frictionless’
currency transfer across the continent.
For several fin-tech leaders, enhancing
international remittance payments in order
to improve trade flows is a major focus. By
using a combination of mobile and crypto-
currencies, many are looking to avoid high
bank charges as more, new digital forex
exchanges emerge across the continent.
Indeed, at a multi-national level, driven by
greater digital connectivity, the potential for
a tripartite alignment of the three existing
trade zones of SADC, EAC and COMESA
holds a promise of a free trade area
encompassing 26 states.
The envisioned Africa
4.0 change will require
more integrated,
connected and
smarter government.
DRC is now seen by
some globally leading
financial service
companies as one of
the most proactive
nations in the world
for mobile payments.
9
Transport
Turning to transport, while many are
sceptical of Africa’s ability to take
advantage of autonomous vehicles due
to bumpy roads and poor infrastructure,
others see congestion, a lack of drivers
and rising mobile and ITC capabilities as
catalysts for faster adoption – especially
the fast-growing urban environments.
Building on South Africa’s E-toll system
in Gauteng, more intelligent highways in
parts of Africa are already emerging. Most
significantly however, as in other regions,
the biggest shifts across the continent
may occur in optimising logistics. Globally
greater efficiency in moving things is as
important as in moving people and so a
major focus for innovation. The impact
for an increasingly digital Africa could be
significant. Corruption, however, is still a big
problem; a recent report by Sandra Sequeira
of the London School of Economics found
that 53% of shipments through Maputo,
Mozambique’s main port, were eased by
bribes. Digitisation and simply moving
documentation online would increase
transparency and also reduce the ability of
unscrupulous officials to demand bribes and
impose delays.
Beyond this more seamless, integrated and
shared last-mile delivery has the potential
to replace inefficient competition and the
duplication of goods distribution. Projects
are being launched that could revolutionise
medical supply chains and commercial
deliveries, combat poaching and provide
other time, cost and indeed lifesaving
solutions. In Rwanda, a small country with
challenging terrain, Zip-line, a robotics
company, has introduced a fixed-wing drone
to deliver medical essentials to rural health
facilities. Essentially a logistics process, this
is seen as a major change agent for public
health. Drone technology could also be
used for the transportation of products and
thus reducing cost and wastage. Such is its
confidence in drone technology in the future
Rwanda now boasts the world’s first drone
port designed by the award-winning British
architect Norman Foster.
Digital Skills
The growth in the intelligence and
capabilities of machines presents both a
threat and an opportunity: Greater AI and
automation will certainly free up time, but
may also threaten jobs. Globally the impact
of more robots and machine learning on the
demand for future human skills is a matter
of much media speculation. With Bill Gates,
Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking all sharing
their views, the end impact is certainly up for
debate. Many however see that only those
economies with the best data scientists will
hold the upper hand in the years ahead.
Already short of 1m engineers, bridging the
digital skills gap across Africa is a priority. If
African nations cannot grow via lower cost
production of global goods, as happened in
S.E. Asia, then they will need to achieve this
via greater digital capability that will seed
future economic development.
More seamless,
integrated and shared
last-mile delivery has
the potential to replace
inefficient competition
and the duplication of
goods distribution.
Already short of 1m
engineers, bridging the
digital skills gap across
Africa is a priority.
10
Healthcare
One sector where there is already global
attention on the potential for a new model
to emerge is that of healthcare – an area
where greater digitally driven efficiency
can significant improve both access and
effectiveness for support. With increasing
levels of mobile health, remote support
is extending reach, reducing costs and
improving healthcare efficiency. Africa and
India are both seen as leaders for start-
ups partnering with networks to improve
compliance, stock and affordability. Already
we can see digital impact - Electronic
Dispensing Tools are being used in Namibia
and RFID tags have been introduced to
reduce counterfeiting of drugs in Kenya,
Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and South Africa.
Equally healthcare providers in Ethiopia
are remotely monitoring the condition of
outpatients to better adjust treatment.
South Africa has for some time been at
the forefront of mobile based remote
support – the question now is how to
move this forward into more smartphone
based diagnostics and healthcare delivery.
With more and better patient data on
the horizon, the potential for change is
accelerating. Add in greater automation
and navigation and the potential future
impact scales significantly. In Rwanda,
Babyl has launched the continent’s first AI-
enabled digital doctor.
Agriculture / Land Registration
Regarding agriculture, Africa is again viewed
as one of the regions with the most to
gain from more digitally-enabled change.
Today, globally, 30-50% of our food is
wasted either in the supply chain or in
consumption and this wastage alone could
feed another 3 billion. Within this context,
one must remember that world-wide
agriculture as a whole is under-invested.
Optimising distribution and storage in
developing countries and enabling better
consumer information in others could solve
this. Within many Sub Saharan African
nations improving agricultural productivity
is therefore, not surprisingly, a major
focus. With increasing access to real time
analytics and data visualisation, more
farmers will be able to better align irrigation
and fertilizer use and so improve yields.
Already we have already seen examples
of the application of IoT to agriculture in
some fields. For instance, Kilimo Salama, a
partnership between Safaricom, Syngenta
and UAP Insurance is a project providing
insurance policies to shield farmers from
significant financial losses when drought or
excess rain impacts harvests. In addition,
an IBM-driven project in Kenya, EZ Farm,
has equipped farms with water-tank, soil
moisture and infrared light sensors all aiming
to provide data to increase yields and lower
costs. In Ghana and Cameroon shared
data is already reducing price asymmetry
and lowering payment costs. As we move
forward with better and more data, the wider
benefit is clear.
An important related issue is that of land
ownership and use: In much of Africa
land ownership is often made up of a
patchwork of smallholders, so within cities
developments emerge wherever a deal
can be made. In the jumbled districts that
result, far too little space is set aside for
roads, parks and other “liveable” amenities.
In the rural areas where 2/3 of African
farms are less than a hectare, few farmers
currently have rights over the land they
work. Many economists recognise that
formalising property rights drives a huge
increase in activity. If informal ambiguous
ownership of land can be formalised then a
notional asset becomes capital – collateral
against which loans can be made. If this
happened across the developing world
as a whole, ‘dead capital’ could become
unlocked. Going forward, by adopting a
more digital approach, again maybe enabled
by a system such as block-chain, the
assignment and management of rights may
be transformational - the creation of digital
property registers will improve yields and
investment and also enable more previously
‘informal’ farmers to become businesses.
Africa and India are
both seen as leaders
for start-ups partnering
with networks to
improve compliance,
stock and affordability.
With increasing
access to real time
analytics and data
visualisation, more
farmers will be able to
better align irrigation
and fertilizer use and
so improve yields
Going forward, by
adopting a more
digital approach, again
maybe enabled by a
system such as block-
chain, the assignment
and management
of rights may be
transformational
11
Cross-cutting Themes
While all these examples highlight specific
areas of opportunity for Africa 4.0 there are
other cross-cutting themes that could drive
lasting change. Two of the most pertinent
in some eyes are risk mitigation and deeper
collaboration. Across a continent of many
nations, managing economic risk is an
increasing area of attention. Better regional
integration is seen as a core component
as is wider adoption of digital identities for
payments, social security and citizenship.
Equally as new partnerships shift to become
more dynamic, long-term and democratised,
there is potential for more substantial
and sustained multi-party collaborations.
Competitor alliances and wider public
participation may well drive regulators to
create new legal frameworks for open,
empathetic collaboration. There is no reason
why African nations and trade zones cannot
be at the forefront of this.
Five Questions for Africa 4.0
Given all the potential, there are a number of key questions to be addressed in how things
move forward from here:
1.	System Efficiency - What levels of impact from Africa 4.0 can be expected in key
areas of the economy?
Which are most open to change, which have the greatest
potential for change
and which have the ability to drive the change most effectively?
2.	 Disruption Potential - As more entrepreneurs become connected and enabled to
innovate, what sectors will be those most open to major disruption and reinvention and
which will nurture start-ups able to have significant impact on the global stage?
3.	 Sharing the Benefits
- As the influence of Africa 4.0 spreads and improves efficiency and
impact, further economic growth will follow. How will the benefits be shared more equitably
across the whole of society and not just between the elite and wealthy leadership?
4.	China’s Extending Influence - China is already Africa’s biggest trading partner and is
behind much of the new infrastructure investments. How will nations best manage
this relationship in the digital world and prevent it from being the 21st century version
of colonization?
5.	 Government Collaboration
- Lastly, data does not recognize national boundaries. It
flows wherever it is wanted. How can African governments and industries improve
collaboration on Africa 4.0 to enable the potential of digitalization being discussed to best
be realized?
Addressing these five points in a coherent manner will, some see, be critical to realising the
potential that many are increasingly engaged in. With increasing digital connectivity, greater
cooperation, and increasing investment, the hope and the growing expectation is that the
future of Africa is very much linked to Africa 4.0 and the ability to leverage the associated
opportunities. While the journey will be far from easy, an increasing number are coalescing
on the target destination and are clearly starting to align major initiatives. Africa 4.0 is a
growing ambition, opportunity and challenge. It will be interesting to see the views shared
on this in Cape Town this month.
As new partnerships
shift to become more
dynamic, long-term
and democratised,
there is potential for
more substantial and
sustained multi-party
collaborations.
12
The Future Agenda is the world’s first and
largest global open foresight initiative.
Initially supported by Vodafone Group in
2010, the research project is now in its
seventh year. It is a major cross-discipline
project that unites some of the best minds
from around the globe to address the
greatest challenges of the next decade.
In doing so, it maps out the major issues,
identifies potential solutions, suggests the
best ways forward and provides a unique
open platform for collective innovation. In
2010, the first programme involved over
2500 experts in 50 workshops around the
world and engaged on-line with another
20,000 people in 147 different countries.
Many companies, governments and other
organsiations have used insights from the
Future Agenda to challenge assumptions,
refine their strategies and identify new
growth platforms for the future. The main
report from this programme was a book –
The World in 2020.
 
In 2015, the second major Future Agenda
programme looked at the world in 2025. In
collaboration with 50 hosts worldwide, it
explored 25 topics and included dialogue
with experts from over 4000 organisations
at 120 events in 45 cities globally.
Complementary on-line and social media
input has involved direct interaction with
over 100,000 consumers and additional
input from 180 countries. The insights
from the programme are freely shared
via multiple platforms so that we can all
be better informed on what others think
about the next decade and so make better
decisions. As well as online materials,
two books have been published from this
second programme – ‘The World in 2025’
and ‘Six Challenges for the Next Decade’.
 
In 2016, alongside bespoke research
undertaken for a number of organisations,
Future Agenda ran the Future of Cities
project. This was another major open
foresight study involving workshops
in 12 locations engaging with leading
thinkers. The summary output of this
project is available on slide-share and
will be published as a new report shortly.
Other topics explored in 2016 included
the Future of Surgery and the Future of
Automotive Data.
 
For 2017, one key focus is in investigating
the Future of High Impact Philanthropy - a
global exploration of emerging changes
at the intersection of philanthropy and
impact investing. A total of 10 events were
held around the world - bringing together
experts in their fields to discuss and debate
the emerging changes within and around
the subject over the next decade.
 
The second major project for the second
half of 2017 is the Future of Patient
Centric data. Building on an initial
perspective on the Future of Healthcare
Provision shared in January, 12 events are
exploring how evolutions in data access
is allowing the patient to be truly at the
centre of healthcare.
About Future Agenda
For more information
 
Main Website synthesis of the output of the 2015 programme as 60 major shifts for the next ten years www.futureagenda.org
A short 90 sec video of the programme - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGJ_5yz_-jQ 
The World in 2025 - https://www.amazon.com/World-2025-Insights-Future-Agenda/dp/0993255426
The World in 2020 - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Future-Agenda-world-Tim-Jones/dp/1906821577
Six Key Challenges - https://www.amazon.com/Future-Agenda-Challenges-Next-Decade/dp/1908990791 
The 800 insights from the 120 events around the world in 2015 - https://www.flickr.com/photos/131046472@N07/albums 
Presentations on different topics and implications - https://www.slideshare.net/futureagenda2

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Future agenda africa 4.0 initial perspective 07 10 17

  • 1. AFRICA 4.0 Opportunities for Africa from Industry 4.0? www.futureagenda.org
  • 2. 2 The promise of a digital dividend for Africa is an increasingly shared aspiration. What does this mean and how is it likely to play out? It has taken time, but today many experts have finally recognized not only the potential for Africa’s growth but also the possibility that its success in skipping over out of date technologies may well evolve into leading in new areas. Some have already started to embrace the concept of “Africa 4.0” and are positioning the continent, in all its variety, as a potential leader in the 4th industrial revolution. But what assumptions are being made to come to such a conclusion and what are some of the future implications? Digital technology provides global opportunities, so how can Africa take advantage of this? There is a growing expectation that the ‘Industry 4.0’ shifts could have a dramatic impact. But will they? Can they indeed help transform African economies? And, if so, then where are the biggest opportunities? Ahead of a series of workshops and discussions in Cape Town this month that will be hosted by Thomson Reuters, this article seeks to share some of the views we have heard during multiple discussions around the world. It first looks at some of the key Industry 4.0 changes that are emerging. It then asks where and how they may impact Africa in the future and what, given the shifts taking place, are some of the key challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. By no means complete in its analysis this initial perspective is intended as a stimulus for further debate. If you have any views, comments or other feedback on this, please do share and lets us know so we can refine, improve and enrich for a second version in November. Foresight vs. Insight As we are seeking to anticipate emerging shifts, first let us review the background and context of foresight and insight. Looking ahead is always fraught with debate on what is possible vs. probable and what it certain vs. uncertain. As no one really knows the long-term future, useful foresight has to embrace uncertainty. While short-term insight about potential shifts over the next twelve months may have high levels of confidence, looking out 3 to 5 years or longer into the next decade, requires us to be more comfortable with what may be possible – rather than what will be certain to happen. In addition, people often like to discuss what they think should occur instead of more pragmatically focusing on what will happen. However to really use foresight effectively we need to both look beyond trends and envision different credible narratives and scenarios for change. As companies, governments and global NGOs seek to place more intelligent bets on future opportunities, we all need to better understand what may be. In order to help this, in 2009 we created the Future Agenda – a platform that has become the world’s largest open foresight program. Run as a global dialogue across all continents, it accesses multiple views of the next decade so collectively we can all be better informed and thus stimulate innovation. We challenge, curate and collate what leaders think may unfold via over discussions with thousands of experts across more than 50 countries. It is from this perspective that we are here to explore the Africa 4.0 question.
  • 3. 3 INDUSTRY 4.0 Ahead of discussing impacts for Africa, we should frame what is meant by “4.0” and in particular the expectations about Industry 4.0 and associated shifts. Industry 4.0 is the term now being widely applied to the growth of automation and data exchange in manufacturing - and beyond. It includes the IoT (Internet of Things), cloud computing, cognitive computing and cyber-physical systems and is often also referred to as the Smart Factory. It was first shared by the German Government around 5 years ago to provoke thinking on how emerging changes in and around digital could / would impact some core drivers of the future economy. Stemming from several German-led initiatives around the future of digital production, it has become an increasing focus for many within industry. McKinsey has labelled Industry 4.0 as ‘Manufacturing’s Next Act’. It is a world where smart factories feature decentralized systems that seamlessly collaborate with each other with exceptional levels of productivity and quality. Rather than producing things in large volumes in massive facilities, it enables manufacturing to become smaller and more distributed. In this world, component manufacture, assembly, testing and packaging are all more flexible, faster, cheaper and more effective. This has become a core focus for multiple companies ranging from Siemens, SAP and Bosch to Hitachi and Mitsubishi and the changes in how things are made will have major impact on production, access and supply chains. As we move to a system built around new capabilities such as 3D printing and open supply webs, manufacturing will become far more efficient and localised. Outside the ‘Smart Factory’, many are preparing for a world in which the IoT, AI, machine learning and autonomous vehicles all connect and merge – a world where data and digital infrastructures dominate. We are already heading in that direction: According to IBM, over 1 trillion sensors will soon be integrated across multiple networks: everything that can benefit from a connection will have one. As was highlighted in some of our 2015 discussions on our ‘future of connectivity’ hosted by Nokia, we will soon be able to deliver 10,000x more data 100x more effectively. As well as driving a significantly improved digital backbone, this “always-on” fully connected ecosystem will enable a host of further developments. McKinsey has labelled Industry 4.0 as ‘Manufacturing’s Next Act’. It is a world where smart factories feature decentralized systems that seamlessly collaborate with each other with exceptional levels of productivity and quality. According to IBM, over 1 trillion sensors will soon be integrated across multiple networks: everything that can benefit from a connection will have one.
  • 4. 4 Transport Currently one of the most popular technology innovations with the general public is the idea of autonomous vehicles - led by Tesla, Google, Uber and a host of established automotive brands. However leading experts see that the shift to fully autonomous transport will begin with moving goods not people, most likely starting with truck platoons on highways and small urban delivery pods. In parallel a growing number of cars, increasingly more connected, will create the network and help to build and test the technologies for the eventual, revolutionary, driverless experience that many anticipate. Real time analytics is another field that will have significant 4.0 impacts - and will cut across many sectors. This will combine with pervasive data sharing and machine learning to provide all parties with instant diagnostics and predication. The effect of this will apply equally across multiple sectors such as healthcare, retail and energy as well as to areas such as vehicle safety, optimal scheduling of trains and the maintenance and self-repair of industrial equipment. Finance Elsewhere, in the world of finance many are betting on the rise of digital money. They believe that, although there will not be a 100% shift within the next decade, cash will continue to be gradually replaced by digital money, providing consumers with more convenience and choice, organisations with lower cost transactions, and governments with greater transparency. As was frequently highlighted in our future of payments discussions, 97% of the world’s money is already digital. As the grey economy recedes in some markets and lower cost, more transparent transactions rise, by 2030 globally we may have reached 99% and wider adoption of new platforms such as “Bitcoin plus” and many other alternative cryptocurrencies will allow a host of new, more personalised and efficient offers to proliferate. Block-chain and the distributed ledger is seen by many as the key platform for this transformation. Leading experts see that the shift to fully autonomous transport will begin with moving goods not people Cash will continue to be gradually replaced by digital money, providing consumers with more convenience and choice, organisations with lower cost transactions, and governments with greater transparency.
  • 5. 5 Data Ownership Underpinning all of these changes is the increasing debate about data ownership. The public, in some regions, is slowly becoming wise to the value of their personal information, something that until recently they have been happy to share in return from the likes of a free email address, Facebook account or shopping discounts. Soon we may all recognize the value of our digital shadows, those little puffs of information we carelessly give away online. A good number of the data fraternity see that, as awareness grows, we will want to retain more ownership and only opt to share our data for a financial return. Some of us may even employ privacy agents to curate our own and our stakeholders’ data sets while personal data stores such as digi.me will, several believe, increasingly give us transparent control of our information. One of the much-debated outcomes of all of this is the potential rise of data marketplaces. The argument goes that if data is a currency, then it has a value and a price, and therefore requires a market place. Several major IT firms are already working on trading platforms to accommodate this – these are fast emerging and are based on the premise that anything that is information can be represented across a number of marketplaces. Think of stock exchanges for data – but operating in four dimensions rather than just two. This amount of change in a comparatively short period does not sit easily with everyone. Many are increasingly questioning the human impact of the new developments – especially on jobs and on society where a growing digital divide seems to benefit the few at the expense of the many. There is, for example, both enthusiasm for and fear that machine learning will start taking control of some of our key systems. Advocates, however, see that with the rise of AI and autonomous computing, machine learning will increasingly be put in control of managing our infrastructures and this will be of benefit to us all, not least by reducing inefficiencies. Google has already used machine learning to good effect and, for example, applied its Deep Mind AI capabilities to reduce the energy requirements for its data servers - quickly realizing efficiency savings of around 50%. New Threats While many of the outcomes of Industry 4.0 and the wider digitisation of our world are positive, there is inevitably a flip side to the anticipated changes, for example growing cyber terrorism. Whether from a kid in his bedroom, a rogue nation state or a cyber caliphate, the threat from digital warfare is now seen as significant. Digital manufacturing and transport systems are naturally popular targets for hackers and cyber terrorists. The same is true of water supplies, power stations, telecom networks and buildings as they all become even more connected. Pervasive connectivity of everything combined with relatively weak security systems present an open door for a sustained denial of service. Many organisations and governments are urgently seeking to mitigate this risk. If data is a currency, then it has a value and a price, and therefore requires a market place. With the rise of AI and autonomous computing, machine learning will increasingly be put in control of managing our infrastructures. Pervasive connectivity of everything combined with relatively weak security systems present an open door for a sustained denial of service.
  • 6. 6 FUTURE AFRICA If all these changes are taking place globally, a key question for the Africa 4.0 ambition is how and where they intersect with the future direction of Africa itself. Given the increasing significance of data and all things digital over the next decade, what are the core expected shifts for the world’s fastest growing continent? There is no easy answer, not least because of the sheer size and diversity of Africa. With a land mass bigger than India, China, the US and Europe combined, few can doubt the scale of Africa or its variety. It has 54 nations, 10 sovereign territories and is home to 1.2 billion people whose life expectancy, dependent on nationality, ranges between 45 to 74 years. It is a continent rich in natural resources but poor in good governance. All ten of the world’s youngest countries are in Africa and the population is expected to double by 2050. 80% of that growth is expected to occur in cities, but mainly in the slums. Young people account for about 20% of the population, 40% of the workforce and 60% of the unemployed. Currently the World Bank estimates 330 million Africans live on less than $1.25 a day and yet some African economies have recorded the fastest economic growth worldwide over the last ten years – and the IMF expects many to continue this trend. Last year however average GDP in sub-Saharan Africa grew by just 1.4%. Income per person fell. Unlike Europe or Asia, Africa has not benefited from an industrial or manufacturing revolution. For every ten workers that move from the countryside to the town, only two have found their way into industry. For others moving from agriculture to low-margin labour-intensive manufacturing such as clothing and toys is increasingly difficult – they not only have to face the challenge of competition from low- wage workers in South Asia but, at home, robots may now threatening to take away jobs. The service sector provides some opportunity - cities like Nairobi offer new jobs for skilled professionals in technology and finance - but most people lack the required skills and education to really benefit from this. With a land mass bigger than India, China, the US and Europe combined, few can doubt the scale of Africa or its variety.
  • 7. Africa Connectivity Many believe that connectivity is key to addressing the problem and this has been a huge area of growth, particularly for Sub Saharan Africa that currently accounts for one tenth of global mobile subscribers. According to recent research by MasterCard / Tufts University connectivity in the region is highly varied but, in some countries, is expected to grow significantly in the next 5 years. However, it not just about basic mobile access, and the GMSA, for one, highlights the smartphone gap. Looking at 3G / 4G network coverage and related smartphone penetration, today only South Africa is better connected than the global average. Improving 3G / 4G coverage across the nations within ECCAS, EAC and ECOWAS from 25% to 75% will require considerable investment but will generate huge returns. According to the World Bank, every 10% increase in high-speed connectivity in a developing country could result in a 1.3% increase in GDP. Major advances are already being made. For instance, according to a recent report by Akamai, Kenya’s Internet is faster and cheaper than that in many countries around the world - ranking 23 out of 108 countries sampled globally. A fast and reliable internet in Kenya has already significantly influenced the improvement of e-commerce, generating significant social, and economic benefits for the country. With the growth of satellite enabled connectivity, high-speed broadband is now also coming to key cities across other countries – including the DRC. With Facebook and others’ new ventures also supporting significantly improved internet access across many African nations, future expectations of more fully connected economies are high. It’s important however to keep this in perspective, Africa still needs fundamental infrastructure, better roads, sanitation, housing and so on. Digital technology can only work if there is power and only about a third of people in sub-Saharan Africa have access to grid electricity. Innovation Looking ahead, as Africa becomes more driven by services and less dependent on commodities there is a growing perspective in government and corporate circles that economic growth, a rising middle class, better digital connectivity and greater transparency will drive concerted progress across the continent and not just in the ‘richer’ country pockets of South Africa, Angola, Nigeria and Egypt but in the likes of Ethiopia, Kenya, Botswana, Sierra Leonne, Cameroon and Ghana as well. It’s not difficult to find examples of ambitious, transformative innovation. Take, for example off-grid connections, which will within a few years, outstrip the rate at which people are being connected to the grid. Africa is leapfrogging power lines in much the same way that it has already adopted mobile phones and bypassed fixed-line telephone networks. Kenya is rapidly also becoming a leader in the provision of low-cost services to a growing middle class. Building on the success of m-Pesa, it is widely recognized as a leading hub for mobile payments. Technology hubs, where startups cluster in shared office space, in Nairobi, Cape Town and Lagos are producing promising companies and attracting international attention. Last year African tech firms raised $186m in funding, reports Disrupt Africa, and with Africa Internet Group it has finally produced a “unicorn” - a tech company valued at more than $1 billion. There is a way to go of course, many start-ups are beset with problems around power shortages, unreliable internet connections, and high bank rates but such is the extent of change that recent analysis suggests that with increased investment and interest from the likes of Facebook, in the future it will be an African city such as Nairobi which could become a world centre for global innovation. A fast and reliable internet in Kenya has already significantly influenced the improvement of e-commerce, generating significant social, and economic benefits for the country. in the future it will be an African city such as Nairobi which could become a world centre for global innovation. 7
  • 8. Climate Change Despite this surge in economic opportunity, Africa is particularly vulnerable to the expected change in climate and this will impact its growth. As the world warms by between 2o C and 4o C, Africa is, as a whole, expected to warm up to 1.5 times faster than the global average. Key implications include flooding in major cities such as Dar es Salaam and Lagos, severe droughts, lower food yields and the migration of tens of millions north. As western media headlines are made by more flooding in a few notable locations the US and SE Asia, the impacts in Africa are going to just as significant – if not more extreme. Few coastal cities beyond those in The Netherlands have been designed to accommodate regular flooding. The impact of climate change is already affecting behaviour in terms of location, energy consumption and food safety requirements however the determination to do something transformational to address this is self-evident. Take for example the Great Green Wall Initiative which today involves some 21 African countries and is an $8bn 4,000-mile effort to stymie the environmental devastation of climate change. Recent projects include abating soil erosion and improving water management in Nigeria, agri-business development in Senegal and forestry management in Mali. Each country has taken its own approach to achieving shared goals. Some focus on community planning through education, while others are expanding investment in technology and training for farmers. Since the project started, 15m hectares of land have been restored in Ethiopia and 20,000 jobs have been created in Nigeria. AFRICA 4.0? So how do the changes envisaged across Africa intersect with the opportunities from Industry 4.0? What will Africa 4.0 become and deliver from the 4th industrial revolution? The answer, it appears, is less about the cyber-physical core around production but more about the wider opportunities from digital identities, block- chain and greater transparency. Although 3D printing and distributed production will have an impact, many see the bigger opportunities to lie elsewhere Take for example, energy. Some suggest that incorporating AI algorithms into the management of solar supply and demand networks can significantly improve the efficiency of energy consumption via localized smart grids - where everyone is an energy producer and consumer. Multi award—winning M-Kopa and Broxx solar systems are already part of the m2m (machine to machine), IoT mix. Across Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya M-Kopa has integrated mobile payments into energy access. Moreover, building on the success of the Lake Turkana Wind Power project in Kenya, similar larger-scale installations can also potentially be integrated with more intelligent management systems with real- time monitoring and analytics maximize yield and reliability. As the world warms by between 2o C and 4o C, Africa is, as a whole, expected to warm up to 1.5 times faster than the global average. Incorporating AI algorithms into the management of solar supply and demand networks can significantly improve the efficiency of energy consumption via localized smart grids. 8
  • 9. Better Governance Much of the envisioned Africa 4.0 change will require more integrated, connected and smarter government. Many are anticipating that in several African nations greater ICT access and broadband adoption will soon improve both government efficiency and transparency. With the private sector as a priority, the Smart Africa Manifesto has, for example, been endorsed by most and a number of partnerships are now in motion. Linked to this, but also having wider impact, will be the roll-out of digital identities. As technology such as multi-factor biometrics and widespread fingerprint-driven identity verification takes hold, authentication and engagement of the wider population increases. As in India, digital identities will open the door to better, more transparent government; to improved banking and to hence to increased economic empowerment. Financial Inclusion Concerning digital money, improving access to, as well as trust in, new banking platforms is expected to significantly enhance financial inclusion. While the potential from block- chain is all the buzz in many circles, for significant change to have lasting impact, some see the need for alignment of technology, socio-economic opportunity, and a supportive legal environment: From a regulatory perspective, although Kenya was a pioneer in mobile payments, the DRC is now seen by some globally leading financial service companies as one of the most proactive nations in the world for mobile payments. In addition, there is the potential to create a more so-called ‘frictionless’ currency transfer across the continent. For several fin-tech leaders, enhancing international remittance payments in order to improve trade flows is a major focus. By using a combination of mobile and crypto- currencies, many are looking to avoid high bank charges as more, new digital forex exchanges emerge across the continent. Indeed, at a multi-national level, driven by greater digital connectivity, the potential for a tripartite alignment of the three existing trade zones of SADC, EAC and COMESA holds a promise of a free trade area encompassing 26 states. The envisioned Africa 4.0 change will require more integrated, connected and smarter government. DRC is now seen by some globally leading financial service companies as one of the most proactive nations in the world for mobile payments. 9
  • 10. Transport Turning to transport, while many are sceptical of Africa’s ability to take advantage of autonomous vehicles due to bumpy roads and poor infrastructure, others see congestion, a lack of drivers and rising mobile and ITC capabilities as catalysts for faster adoption – especially the fast-growing urban environments. Building on South Africa’s E-toll system in Gauteng, more intelligent highways in parts of Africa are already emerging. Most significantly however, as in other regions, the biggest shifts across the continent may occur in optimising logistics. Globally greater efficiency in moving things is as important as in moving people and so a major focus for innovation. The impact for an increasingly digital Africa could be significant. Corruption, however, is still a big problem; a recent report by Sandra Sequeira of the London School of Economics found that 53% of shipments through Maputo, Mozambique’s main port, were eased by bribes. Digitisation and simply moving documentation online would increase transparency and also reduce the ability of unscrupulous officials to demand bribes and impose delays. Beyond this more seamless, integrated and shared last-mile delivery has the potential to replace inefficient competition and the duplication of goods distribution. Projects are being launched that could revolutionise medical supply chains and commercial deliveries, combat poaching and provide other time, cost and indeed lifesaving solutions. In Rwanda, a small country with challenging terrain, Zip-line, a robotics company, has introduced a fixed-wing drone to deliver medical essentials to rural health facilities. Essentially a logistics process, this is seen as a major change agent for public health. Drone technology could also be used for the transportation of products and thus reducing cost and wastage. Such is its confidence in drone technology in the future Rwanda now boasts the world’s first drone port designed by the award-winning British architect Norman Foster. Digital Skills The growth in the intelligence and capabilities of machines presents both a threat and an opportunity: Greater AI and automation will certainly free up time, but may also threaten jobs. Globally the impact of more robots and machine learning on the demand for future human skills is a matter of much media speculation. With Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking all sharing their views, the end impact is certainly up for debate. Many however see that only those economies with the best data scientists will hold the upper hand in the years ahead. Already short of 1m engineers, bridging the digital skills gap across Africa is a priority. If African nations cannot grow via lower cost production of global goods, as happened in S.E. Asia, then they will need to achieve this via greater digital capability that will seed future economic development. More seamless, integrated and shared last-mile delivery has the potential to replace inefficient competition and the duplication of goods distribution. Already short of 1m engineers, bridging the digital skills gap across Africa is a priority. 10
  • 11. Healthcare One sector where there is already global attention on the potential for a new model to emerge is that of healthcare – an area where greater digitally driven efficiency can significant improve both access and effectiveness for support. With increasing levels of mobile health, remote support is extending reach, reducing costs and improving healthcare efficiency. Africa and India are both seen as leaders for start- ups partnering with networks to improve compliance, stock and affordability. Already we can see digital impact - Electronic Dispensing Tools are being used in Namibia and RFID tags have been introduced to reduce counterfeiting of drugs in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and South Africa. Equally healthcare providers in Ethiopia are remotely monitoring the condition of outpatients to better adjust treatment. South Africa has for some time been at the forefront of mobile based remote support – the question now is how to move this forward into more smartphone based diagnostics and healthcare delivery. With more and better patient data on the horizon, the potential for change is accelerating. Add in greater automation and navigation and the potential future impact scales significantly. In Rwanda, Babyl has launched the continent’s first AI- enabled digital doctor. Agriculture / Land Registration Regarding agriculture, Africa is again viewed as one of the regions with the most to gain from more digitally-enabled change. Today, globally, 30-50% of our food is wasted either in the supply chain or in consumption and this wastage alone could feed another 3 billion. Within this context, one must remember that world-wide agriculture as a whole is under-invested. Optimising distribution and storage in developing countries and enabling better consumer information in others could solve this. Within many Sub Saharan African nations improving agricultural productivity is therefore, not surprisingly, a major focus. With increasing access to real time analytics and data visualisation, more farmers will be able to better align irrigation and fertilizer use and so improve yields. Already we have already seen examples of the application of IoT to agriculture in some fields. For instance, Kilimo Salama, a partnership between Safaricom, Syngenta and UAP Insurance is a project providing insurance policies to shield farmers from significant financial losses when drought or excess rain impacts harvests. In addition, an IBM-driven project in Kenya, EZ Farm, has equipped farms with water-tank, soil moisture and infrared light sensors all aiming to provide data to increase yields and lower costs. In Ghana and Cameroon shared data is already reducing price asymmetry and lowering payment costs. As we move forward with better and more data, the wider benefit is clear. An important related issue is that of land ownership and use: In much of Africa land ownership is often made up of a patchwork of smallholders, so within cities developments emerge wherever a deal can be made. In the jumbled districts that result, far too little space is set aside for roads, parks and other “liveable” amenities. In the rural areas where 2/3 of African farms are less than a hectare, few farmers currently have rights over the land they work. Many economists recognise that formalising property rights drives a huge increase in activity. If informal ambiguous ownership of land can be formalised then a notional asset becomes capital – collateral against which loans can be made. If this happened across the developing world as a whole, ‘dead capital’ could become unlocked. Going forward, by adopting a more digital approach, again maybe enabled by a system such as block-chain, the assignment and management of rights may be transformational - the creation of digital property registers will improve yields and investment and also enable more previously ‘informal’ farmers to become businesses. Africa and India are both seen as leaders for start-ups partnering with networks to improve compliance, stock and affordability. With increasing access to real time analytics and data visualisation, more farmers will be able to better align irrigation and fertilizer use and so improve yields Going forward, by adopting a more digital approach, again maybe enabled by a system such as block- chain, the assignment and management of rights may be transformational 11
  • 12. Cross-cutting Themes While all these examples highlight specific areas of opportunity for Africa 4.0 there are other cross-cutting themes that could drive lasting change. Two of the most pertinent in some eyes are risk mitigation and deeper collaboration. Across a continent of many nations, managing economic risk is an increasing area of attention. Better regional integration is seen as a core component as is wider adoption of digital identities for payments, social security and citizenship. Equally as new partnerships shift to become more dynamic, long-term and democratised, there is potential for more substantial and sustained multi-party collaborations. Competitor alliances and wider public participation may well drive regulators to create new legal frameworks for open, empathetic collaboration. There is no reason why African nations and trade zones cannot be at the forefront of this. Five Questions for Africa 4.0 Given all the potential, there are a number of key questions to be addressed in how things move forward from here: 1. System Efficiency - What levels of impact from Africa 4.0 can be expected in key areas of the economy?
Which are most open to change, which have the greatest potential for change
and which have the ability to drive the change most effectively? 2. Disruption Potential - As more entrepreneurs become connected and enabled to innovate, what sectors will be those most open to major disruption and reinvention and which will nurture start-ups able to have significant impact on the global stage? 3. Sharing the Benefits
- As the influence of Africa 4.0 spreads and improves efficiency and impact, further economic growth will follow. How will the benefits be shared more equitably across the whole of society and not just between the elite and wealthy leadership? 4. China’s Extending Influence - China is already Africa’s biggest trading partner and is behind much of the new infrastructure investments. How will nations best manage this relationship in the digital world and prevent it from being the 21st century version of colonization? 5. Government Collaboration
- Lastly, data does not recognize national boundaries. It flows wherever it is wanted. How can African governments and industries improve collaboration on Africa 4.0 to enable the potential of digitalization being discussed to best be realized? Addressing these five points in a coherent manner will, some see, be critical to realising the potential that many are increasingly engaged in. With increasing digital connectivity, greater cooperation, and increasing investment, the hope and the growing expectation is that the future of Africa is very much linked to Africa 4.0 and the ability to leverage the associated opportunities. While the journey will be far from easy, an increasing number are coalescing on the target destination and are clearly starting to align major initiatives. Africa 4.0 is a growing ambition, opportunity and challenge. It will be interesting to see the views shared on this in Cape Town this month. As new partnerships shift to become more dynamic, long-term and democratised, there is potential for more substantial and sustained multi-party collaborations. 12
  • 13. The Future Agenda is the world’s first and largest global open foresight initiative. Initially supported by Vodafone Group in 2010, the research project is now in its seventh year. It is a major cross-discipline project that unites some of the best minds from around the globe to address the greatest challenges of the next decade. In doing so, it maps out the major issues, identifies potential solutions, suggests the best ways forward and provides a unique open platform for collective innovation. In 2010, the first programme involved over 2500 experts in 50 workshops around the world and engaged on-line with another 20,000 people in 147 different countries. Many companies, governments and other organsiations have used insights from the Future Agenda to challenge assumptions, refine their strategies and identify new growth platforms for the future. The main report from this programme was a book – The World in 2020.   In 2015, the second major Future Agenda programme looked at the world in 2025. In collaboration with 50 hosts worldwide, it explored 25 topics and included dialogue with experts from over 4000 organisations at 120 events in 45 cities globally. Complementary on-line and social media input has involved direct interaction with over 100,000 consumers and additional input from 180 countries. The insights from the programme are freely shared via multiple platforms so that we can all be better informed on what others think about the next decade and so make better decisions. As well as online materials, two books have been published from this second programme – ‘The World in 2025’ and ‘Six Challenges for the Next Decade’.   In 2016, alongside bespoke research undertaken for a number of organisations, Future Agenda ran the Future of Cities project. This was another major open foresight study involving workshops in 12 locations engaging with leading thinkers. The summary output of this project is available on slide-share and will be published as a new report shortly. Other topics explored in 2016 included the Future of Surgery and the Future of Automotive Data.   For 2017, one key focus is in investigating the Future of High Impact Philanthropy - a global exploration of emerging changes at the intersection of philanthropy and impact investing. A total of 10 events were held around the world - bringing together experts in their fields to discuss and debate the emerging changes within and around the subject over the next decade.   The second major project for the second half of 2017 is the Future of Patient Centric data. Building on an initial perspective on the Future of Healthcare Provision shared in January, 12 events are exploring how evolutions in data access is allowing the patient to be truly at the centre of healthcare. About Future Agenda For more information   Main Website synthesis of the output of the 2015 programme as 60 major shifts for the next ten years www.futureagenda.org A short 90 sec video of the programme - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGJ_5yz_-jQ  The World in 2025 - https://www.amazon.com/World-2025-Insights-Future-Agenda/dp/0993255426 The World in 2020 - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Future-Agenda-world-Tim-Jones/dp/1906821577 Six Key Challenges - https://www.amazon.com/Future-Agenda-Challenges-Next-Decade/dp/1908990791  The 800 insights from the 120 events around the world in 2015 - https://www.flickr.com/photos/131046472@N07/albums  Presentations on different topics and implications - https://www.slideshare.net/futureagenda2