DEVELOPMENT IN THE 4th Industrial Revolution


It is now commonly understood that the fourth Industrial revolution is an umbrella term for several new digital technologies that are transforming production, industry and social organisation, such as big data analytics, robotics and process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), advanced (3D) printing and blockchains. These technologies are instrumental for ushering in changes in most global sectors – ranging from ICTs, to medicine, to agriculture in recent times, causing much stir in policy circles on how to leverage these technologies for industrialisation and change in parts of the world that are less developed. A burning question is: can the fourth industrial revolution help countries to catch-up better and more efficiently or will it increase the gap to the frontier?

The reality however, is far from being black and white. The gains from application of fourth IR technologies to economies will eventually depend on (a) how these technologies interface with existing industrial strengths in countries and region, (b) how they can be leveraged to strengthen local production/ local industrial capacity.

This project aims to generate evidence-based findings for policy advice to policy makers on how the fourth IR technologies can be used to promote structural change and industrialization in developing countries. It focuses on the three most important technologies - big data, RPA and AI – and how they be applied equally to all industrial sectors, namely manufacturing, services and agriculture to enhance prosperity in less developed countries.