Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution South Africa

Dr Ntsibane Ntlatlapa honoured with academic Wits cap

Congratulations to the C4IR South Africa: Centre Head Dr Ntsibane Ntlatlapa who has been appointed as an Adjunct Honorary Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits).

Dr Ntlatlapa will form part of the team at the LINK Centre, the School of Literature, Language and Media, in the Faculty of Humanities until October 2024.

Part of this relationship with Wits will see Dr Ntlatlapa guest lecturing on postgraduate programmes and short courses, providing supervision of postgraduate students, creating opportunities for postgraduate students of the LINK Centre to experience an immersion in the CSIR research environment and co-authoring scholarly publications with fulltime staff members. Of this honour he said: “I am pleased with the recognition and an opportunity for me to join the academic community at the LINK centre. This honour is a tribute to excellent work of the telecommunications and media technologies team that I had the honour to lead for the major part of my work at the CSIR and the impact that it has had in the national and international telecommunication regulatory landscape. I hope that this relationship will provide additional capacity for the C4IR South Africa to it mandate to be influential voice in global decisions on the regulation of 4IR technologies.”

Dr Luci Abrahams, Head of the LINK Centre at Wits shared a warm welcome to Dr Ntlatlapa: “We are very pleased to have Professor Ntsibane Ntlatlapa join the academic community at the LINK Centre, where he will contribute his knowledge and capacities to building the knowledge base of the 50 plus postgraduate students from across the SADC and East African regions, studying in the field of interdisciplinary digital knowledge economy studies. His first endeavour is in supervising a Masters research, titled “Adoption and use of Internet of Things in South Africa and the implications for adaptive regulation”. We trust that the relationship will be mutually beneficial to Wits University, C4IRSA and to the CSIR”.

World Economic Forum Launches Initiative to Enable Equitable and Trusted Use of Data for Global Common Good

  • World Economic Forum announces today the first-of-its-kind global initiative on designing a governance framework to responsibly enhance the societal benefit from data  
  • Individuals, private enterprise, civil society, research and government institutions will all benefit when data assets are exchanged to stimulate the transition from traditional to data-driven economies
  • The initiative is critical to ensuring that currently inaccessible data is available to solve key challenges, such as optimizing responses to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • With over 50 global partners from 20 countries, including 10 governments, the Data for Common Purpose Initiative aims to drive innovation in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution by accelerating the trustworthy and equitable use of data to unlock value
  • Learn more about the initiative here

San Francisco, USA, 8 December 2020 – Governments, researchers and the healthcare industry have always relied on the insights data provides to make decisions that benefit the public good, a challenge emphasized by the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking to the future, data will be a major component of rebuilding the economy and responding to these issues.

With over 50 partners from 20 countries around the world, the Data for Common Purpose Initiative (DCPI) is building a foundational governance framework. The framework will refocus data policy and models towards common purposes that will enable differentiated permissioning of the same data, depending on context. Such flexible data governance models could enable government-led data exchanges that can promote a transition to a data-driven economy.

“Some 25 quintillion bytes of data are created each day. All of this information can yield powerful insights but we have not been able to access and use these data in a meaningful way,” said Nadia Hewett, Project Lead, World Economic Forum. “This initiative aims to unlock data from existing siloes and create opportunities for both public good and commercial benefit.”

Historically, institutions and existing policy and regulatory models have attempted to balance data protection with business incentives. The DCPI will reorient governance to the realities of data sharing, developing a framework to enable access to data for intended and agreed upon purposes, without compromising individual privacy rights. 

“It is impossible to foresee all the potential uses for data at the moment it is created or provided. Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies are on a path to enable differentiated permissioning of the same data, dependent upon permitted purposes. In collaboration with the global project community, the DCPI will co-design frameworks to ensure that a person’s data cannot be used for non-permissioned purposes, that their rights are recognized and respected, and that economic benefits and risks are appropriately allocated across a more complete set of stakeholders,” said Sheila Warren, Head of Data, Blockchain and Digital Assets, World Economic Forum.

By highlighting opportunities for unlocking data for common purposes, the DCPI aims to enable the repurposing and reuse of data across public and commercial sectors.

“Data for common good can only flourish if the Forum and DCPI can foster a data trust strategy and mindset. The actionable challenge is twofold. How can we agree on common principles to govern and protect data? How can we envision new ways of exchanging data that place the right value on data contributed by all? Addressing these challenges is key to unlocking the true value of data for a common purpose,” said Sean Joyce, Global and US Cybersecurity, Privacy & Forensics Leader, PwC US.

This multi-year initiative will explore policy, technical and commercial enablers for a flexible and ethical data governance framework. In addition to incorporating best-in-class building blocks, such as policies, toolkits and protocols, the DCPI will pilot projects with public and private sector partners to test and inform its governance framework. These pilots extend across domains such as agriculture, energy, health, environment, mobility and others. This way, DCPI helps to advance the overall data field through what is otherwise individual and independent efforts or projects.

Key pilot projects include:

A pilot run by the Government of Colombia is developing a first-of-its-kind, government-led data marketplace to more easily connect data contributors and consumers.

Meanwhile, the Government of Japan is working alongside the private sector to explore data exchanges available to address challenges in public health, medicine and elderly care, and to extend applications to disaster prevention and traffic safety.

Located in Norway, the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Ocean use the advances in new technologies to improve the environmental footprint of ocean industries.

Collaborator quotes:

“Data exchanges can help people and societies get the most out of the digital age, unlocking value, driving economic growth and spreading the benefits more equitably. The Japanese government has been actively exploring the adoption of data exchanges and welcomes this important new global initiative,” said Takuya Hirai, Minister for Digital Transformation, Government of Japan.

“The Data for Common Purpose Initiative is about finding new ways to unlock the power of data to solve global challenges. We look forward to helping shape an approach that empowers consumers, ensures they benefit from data-driven innovations, and encourages organizations to be accountable stewards of consumer data – protecting it and respecting privacy. Through DCPI, we have an opportunity to help unlock the potential benefits of levering data to support the growth of economies and the prosperity of consumers everywhere, while guarding their privacy rights,” said Melissa McSherry, Senior Vice-President, Global Head of Data Products and Solutions, Visa.

“Our world is on the cusp of transformations in system architecture, governance and economic theory. In the new data-driven socioeconomic paradigm, our collective prosperity will ultimately rest on how effectively we are able to harness the power vested in data. Blockchain and the decentralized systems it supports will act as the critical catalysts that allow us to realize the benefits of DCPI without compromising the integrity of our social fabric,” said Donald Bullers, Global Technical Lead, Elastos Foundation.

“A data-driven economy is needed now more than ever. The full value of data is essential to driving an economic rebound in the wake of COVID-19. People across the world, along with governments, civil society and the private sector, want to use data for public good. The World Economic Forum is uniquely placed to bring together the public and private sectors to co-create a governance framework that facilitates responsible data exchange and removes unintended policy barriers to its use,” said Alice Gast, President, Imperial College London.

“The role that data plays in our economy and lives is increasing every day – the work done on the DCPI will play a key role in understanding how to build effective data marketplaces from both the technology and policy perspective. Fujitsu believes that Data is one of the main emerging components of the global economy and are happy to participate in this important initiative,” said Catherine Mulligan, Vice-President and Chief Technology Officer, North and West Europe, Fujitsu Services.

“From the data marketplace approach, we are crowdsourcing the operational and regulatory frameworks of data exchange, preserving the protection of users’ rights and promoting novel digital business models. In the long term, the initiative will mature the concept of data markets as a standard practice for public and private sector advancement, or even individual’s growth,” said Victor Muñoz, Presidential Advisor for Digital Transformation and Economic Affairs, Government of Colombia.

“Data policies and models that are developed should serve a common purpose to ensure the Fourth Industrial Revolution does not just benefit a select few but has social impact and addresses our country’s challenges,” said Khungeka Njobe, Group Executive, Business Excellence and Integration, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa, and Co-Lead of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution South Africa.

“We are excited about the prospects of sharing data for common purposes. In the financial services sector, we have seen the immense benefits of open-source data standards in making data shareable for a common purpose. Open-source data standards enable the use of technology to easily share data between financial institutions and regulators for the common purpose of achieving financial stability through transparency,” said Diana Paredes, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Suade.

“In combating emissions, plastic waste and overfishing, we need to engage and mobilize key players. We are already working with several committed partners in industry, science, conservation and government. The Data for Common Purpose Initiative gives us a solid platform to work from, both in developing content but not the least to engage with ambitious partners from all sectors,” said Bjørn Tore Markussen, Chief Executive Officer, C4IR Ocean, Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Norway.

This initiative builds on the work undertaken at the World Economic Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution over the past two years and is a significant step forward to ensuring that the Fourth Industrial Revolution benefits everyone.

Notes to editors
Read more about the Data for Common Purpose Initiative here
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The World Economic Forum, committed to improving the state of the world, is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. (www.weforum.org).

Media statement on the release of the Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group’s (IFWG) Position Paper on Crypto Assets

As the use of crypto assets continues to grow and evolve, a deeper collective understanding of this area is emerging, and regulators across the globe are formulating regulatory approaches that are proportionate to, and appropriate for, the benefits and risks of crypto assets.

Through the Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group (IFWG), a group of South African financial sector regulators have drafted a policy position paper on crypto assets. The purpose of this position paper is to provide specific recommendations for the development of a regulatory framework for crypto assets, including suggestions on the required regulatory changes to be implemented.

The position paper recommends, among other aspects:
• The implementation of an anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regime
• A licensing and supervisory regime from a conduct of business perspective
• A regulatory regime for the monitoring of cross-border financial flows

This position paper builds on a consultation paper on crypto assets that was first issued by the IFWG on 16 January 2019 (https://www.ifwg.co.za/wpcontent/uploads/2020/02/CAR_WG_Consultation_paper_on_crypto_assetsl.pdf).

The consultation paper highlighted the perceived benefits and risks of crypto asset-related activities, as well as policy proposals for a regulatory framework. It also provided an opportunity for all industry participants and stakeholders to submit comments on the proposals contained in the paper. The comments received were carefully considered in compiling the position paper released on 14 April 2020.

Members of the public and impacted role players and stakeholders are requested to provide comments on the position paper by 15 May 2020. Comments can be submitted by email to innovation@ifwg.co.za.

Access the recently released IFWG position paper on crypto assets here:

Notes to editors
Members of the Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group (IFWG) include the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), the National Credit Regulator (NCR), National Treasury (NT), the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

Where is South Africa’s industrial internet of things innovation?

A growing number of inventive startups has fed expectations that South Africa can be a hub for innovation in the industrial internet of things (IIoT). And while there has been progress and examples of the deployment of IIoT-related technology in the industrial sector in the country, there are roadblocks to more rapid growth, typically involving difficulty in making the business case for implementing new applications. IIoT is a subset of IoT that includes connecting devices and machinery in industrial sectors to monitoring, control and data analysis systems. It involves the merger of enterprise IT with operational technology, or OT – the instrumentation of physical devices and processes. In South Africa, 2019 was to be the year that home-grown startups would lead innovation in the sector, according to Frost & Sullivan’s 2019 ICT trends for South Africa. Whether the actual number of IIoT deployments has lived up to expectations may be debatable, but there appears to be broad interest in field.


For the full paper please visit https://www.cio.com/article/3518819/where-is-south-africas-industrial-internet-of-things-innovation.html

The path to digital revolution for businesses in SA

Digital transformation is more than just integrating the latest piece of tech into one of your processes. It’s about true digital transformation that is integrated into all areas of the business. This means that you’re forced to disrupt and shift services from manual only to online – but at the same time, rebuild your business culture, redesign products to be digital-first, allow marketing and sales to leverage digital, and add new capabilities into your environment in order to maximise on what the 4th industrial revolution offers. South African businesses are beginning to understand that this new way of thinking can actually fit into their business models, they can be technology-led and human-centred.


For the full paper please visit https://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/852/201430.html

An Application of Data Mining in the Fourth Industrial Revolution – A Case of South Africa

This research paper explores the in-depth application of Data Mining in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) in South Africa. The Industrial Revolution concept has fundamentally changed our society and economy. In South Africa, data mining phenomena has not been fully realized in the age of the 4IR. In the age of information and 4IR data is viewed as a strategic assert that companies should invest in. Results in this study shows that the concept of data mining in South African business landscape is not fully executed and applied to business development and management as a practice. Statistical observations also indicate that baselines, historical data and intelligence if used properly can benefit businesses to grow and develop. This study attempted to discover hidden valuable knowledge by analyzing data using statistical data mining techniques during which a new data mining technique to analyze data, interpret it and present it was discovered. This research tested the new approach referred to as Alex Malapane Data Mining Technique (AMDMT) using test questions which were explored as per the objective of this study.

For the full paper please visit https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?arnumber=8735627&tag=1

Open governance for improved service delivery innovation in South Africa

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is the current and developing environment in which changing technologies and trends such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) are changing the way governments function. Governments are increasingly facing new risks and opportunities due to the advancement of the 4IR. Governments need to find ways to adapt to the 4IR. Innovation is a prerequisite for adapting to the 4IR. The aim of this article is to determine the level of public service delivery innovation (SDI) in South Africa in the context of the 4IR. The analysis in this article is based on secondary data and documentary analysis, including unsolicited government documents, reports and legislation, and authoritative scholarly literature. A number of innovation measures for improved service delivery have been adopted in South Africa. These efforts are not, however, embedded within the wider public service, and efforts to improve SDI should be considered. In a global environment of resource constraints and constant change, open governance through multi-stakeholder collaboration may present strategic opportunities to facilitate innovation. The aim of these initiatives is to enhance transparency and accountability, and to facilitate public service delivery and citizen participation.

For the full paper please visit https://dergipark.org.tr/tr/download/article-file/917473

Using ICT indicators to measure readiness of countries to implement Industry 4.0 and the SDGs

At the epicentre of Industry 4.0 is Information Communication and Technology (ICT) and across the 17 Sustainable Development (SDGs) are indicators focusing on ICT. In addition, SDG 9 focuses on promoting sustainable industrialisation and fostering innovation. This paper samples 212 countries and regions, drawing up a 2015 baseline composite index using three out of six ICT-related SDGs indicators with data. The data come from the World Development Indicators database and the min–max method of computing the composite index was applied. The fndings show that the top 10 countries scored between 71.27 and 78.26 points out of the weighted total of 100, while the bottom 10 countries (all African) registered between 0.02 and 5.80 points. As for the regions, the European Union came top at 60.20 points and sub-Saharan Africa was last at 13.04 points. The African country ranked frst (Seychelles) scored 43.83 points and ranked 80th overall. Broadly, there is signifcant work required to prepare all countries for Industry 4.0 through ICT and to work towards attaining ICT-related SDGs targets by 2030. We recommend that right platforms be set up to promote ICT scale-up and lessen the convergence period between frontrunner countries and those lagging behind.

For the full paper please visit https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s10018-019-00259-1.pdf

Assessing the readiness of South Africa for Industry 4.0 – analysis of government policy, skills and education.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) is imminent in the South African economy. Industry 4.0 is disruptive and challenges the status quo. This paper investigates the preparedness of South Africa for Industry 4.0 implementation. Government policies and initiatives on innovation and manufacturing are reviewed and presented to determine their position relative to Industry 4.0. Key statistics on education, skills and employment are presented and analysed to assess how well prepared the education system is to supply skills required in Industry 4.0. Based on the analysis and reviews of policy and key data recommendations are presented which highlight important actions to ensure optimal Industry 4.0 implementation.

For the full paper please visit http://ieomsociety.org/southafrica2018/papers/298.pdf

Public Outlook on Creative Methodologies for the 4th Industrial Revolution in South Africa

Many prior studies show that, with technology embedded in all we do, and more than half of the world’s population now connected to the internet, forecasts of the global economy being 60% digitised by 2022, means the era of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) is upon us. The readiness of countries, including South Africa (SA), and whether and how they have prepared, planned and organised for this revolution, offers little empirical research. To date, no clarity exists with regards to social re-skilling, infrastructural adjustments, technology up scaling, and human resource readiness, as well as economic re-capitalisation. This study aims at providing input to assist with closing this research gap, seeking understanding and knowledge around creative methodologies for 4IR in SA, and the extent of perceived readiness and various factors confronting the country’s readiness in the coming industrial revolution. The study population consisted of 287 participants from seven selected business areas in the province of KwaZulu- Natal (KZN, SA. The target population was determined by quota sampling method, while the measuring instrument was a 3-point Likert-scaled questionnaire, designed and personally administered to respondents, allowing 10 days for completion. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS version 24.0) was used for data analysis and research findings presented in tables. The study highlighted that many respondents do not believe SA is ready for 4IR. The findings of this research should be used with care, as the sample is very small; the study recommends further empirical studies with larger numbers, which will include other provinces.

For the full paper please visit https://www.abacademies.org/articles/public-outlook-on-creative-methodologies-for-the-4th-industrial-revolution-in-south-africa-8514.html

Agile Policy Development

We’re co-developing and piloting governance and policy frameworks to keep up with the pace of technology evolution.

National and Global Cooperation for Impact

The Centre draws on private sector, government, academia and civil society to co-design technology governance frameworks.


Read the latest edition of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) magazine, ScienceScope.

This edition highlights some key issues of significance as the country starts to implement its fourth industrial revolution strategy. It also features CSIR people, research and development, as well as infrastructure.