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The Digital Transformation Expo 2023

CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa 

19 to 20 September 2023 

“The Covid-19 global pandemic represents a severe and unexpected exogenous shock to the South African economy, in the context of already weak economic performance.” – The South African Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.  

The Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan indicates that recovery from this shock should not just focus on what was, but also on what is next in terms of transformation.   

South African digital transformation priorities in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) era are captured in the White Paper on Science and Innovation and the Presidential Commission on the 4IR. As part of the implementation of the white paper that the Department of Science and Innovation established, the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution South Africa (C4IR South Africa) is a national collaborative platform used to position South Africa to respond to the opportunities and risks flowing from the 4IR.  

The C4IR South Africa will be convening the second Digital Transformation Expo, under the theme “Enabling Digital Transformation for All, a Human centred approach”. The expo will gather leaders from business, government, civil society, international organisations and academia, as well as innovators. 

Under this theme, the expo will focus on the importance of digital transformation across industries, promoting the adoption of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, blockchain and the internet of things (IoT). Emphasis is placed on empowering small and medium enterprises with digital tools and capabilities, enabling their participation in the digital economy. Central to this approach is a user-centric mindset, driven by empathy and a commitment to creating solutions that cater to the diverse needs and aspirations of people. 

Thematic pillars

To progress towards achieving the goals of the expo, the programme is established upon the thematic pillars listed below. 

Advancing frameworks on data governance 

This pillar concentrates on advancing frameworks for data governance, with a primary emphasis on data privacy, data sharing and open data. Trusted data sharing is a key enabler for a digital economy.  

This pillar will have a special focus on open data initiatives that have emerged as influential tools for unlocking economic potential and fostering innovation, enabling small, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) growth and as core engines for smarter cities. 

Aligning industry and government on digital identity agenda 

This pillar aims to foster collaboration and synergy between public and private partnerships in the space of trusted digital identity. Trusted digital identification, authentication and authorisation is a key enabler for transacting in cyberspace. 

This pilar will focus on the importance of aligning efforts and priorities to create a unified approach towards advancing the digital identity agenda. 

Promoting innovative applications of AI and the metaverse 

This pillar is dedicated to the ethical adoption of AI and the metaverse, and their potential to transform government operations and enable innovation.  

It will provide an overview of the status quo of AI readiness in the country and AI capabilities to improve socioeconomic development.  

Promoting innovative application in tech, data and business models to modernise key sectors of the economy 

This pillar focuses on the ongoing transition towards low-carbon energy sources and harnessing digital transformation for the modernisation of key sectors of the economy – manufacturing, agriculture and mining – to increase efficiency and productivity.  

It will explore strategies, sharing best practices and success stories that demonstrate how digital transformation can optimise resource utilisation, reduce waste and create more sustainable production processes, particularly for SMMEs. 

Celebrating women in 4IR in the Global South   

This special pillar will celebrate successful women in the 4IR in the Global South. It will feature a panel of experts and practitioners from various sectors and within countries in the Global South who will share their insights, experiences and challenges that women face in advancing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). 

The pillar will aim to foster a dialogue and collaboration among the participants and highlight the best practices and recommendations for promoting gender equality and inclusion in 4IR-related fields, such as STEM education, digital skills development, entrepreneurship and leadership. 

Format of the expo

Exhibition area: The expo will feature an exhibition area where industry leaders will showcase their solutions. Attendees can explore live demos and interactive displays and engage directly with the exhibitors to gain in-depth insights into the showcased technologies.  

Keynote presentations and panel discussions: Renowned experts and thought leaders will deliver insightful keynote presentations and participate in panel discussions. These sessions will cover a wide array of topics, including emerging trends, best practices and the transformative impact of digital transformation.  

Networking and collaboration spaces: The expo will provide dedicated networking spaces designed to facilitate valuable connections among participants. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations, exchange ideas and explore potential collaborations with industry peers, solution providers and experts.  

Workshops and interactive sessions: The event will feature workshops and interactive sessions led by industry experts. These sessions will offer practical guidance on implementing digital transformation strategies, addressing challenges and maximising the benefits of IoT technologies within the manufacturing context.

Current Partners

Founding Partners

An initiative of the Department of Science and Innovation, managed and hosted by the CSIR and affiliated to the World Economic Forum.

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