The African Development Bank (AfDB) selected TIV (in partnership with Research ICT Africa (RIA) and the Technopolis Group)  to work on a ground-breaking effort to bring the 4th Industrial Revolution to Africa

Using a multi-pronged approach, the project team tackled 5 key objectives:

  • Objective 1: Bringing awareness to the potential of Africa in light of 4IR emerging technologies, including: 1. Internet of Things 2. Blockchain 3. Artificial Intelligence and advanced Robotics 4. Big Data and Machine Learning 5. VR and AR and 6. 3D printing, Bioprinting and Custom Manufacturing.

  • Objective 2: Demonstrating case studies of 4IR technologies in sectors where Africa is poised for rapid growth and cultivating the resources, capital and infrastructure where the country is lagging.

  • Objective 3: Determining the Social & Economic Implications of Large-scale Adoption of 4IR technology in Africa.

  • Objective 4: Determining the enabling success factors (e.g. political economy, policy, human, instructional, financial)

  • Objective 5: Identifying barriers and challenges and establishing short- and long-term timelines.

During this multi-year study TIV experts conducted numerous missions, stakeholder consultations and mappings, in addition to executing extensive surveys to inform their analyses and recommendations. Internal AfDB experts spanning several Vice-Presidencies, accelerators, Venture Capital groups, entrepreneurs, policy makers (ICT regulators, ministries of Science Technology Innovation) were interviewed and their insights informed a range of documents covering a vast spectrum of topics including: how AfDB could use digitalization for its own operations to become a “Smart” Bank; how AfDB could create new loan/TA products for innovation/entrepreneurship/digitalization/4IR; and country specific case studies which encompassed assessment of regulatory environment, measures to strengthen digital innovation ecosystem etc. Many of these documents remain proprietary to AfDB and are not public. Some of them were intended to inform loan activities and AfDB strategy on 4IR

Comprehensive technology roadmapping and readiness assessment (as regards regulations, skills, innovation ecosystem etc.) were performed for the continent as a whole, and deep dives were conducted for select countries. Certain sectors of greatest importance to the economy were covered in greater detail (e.g. Precision Agriculture). The team assessed the preconditions related to 4IR (data privacy laws, open data policies, regulatory regime) in numerous countries, as well as two countries for benchmark - India and South Korea. Furthermore, while identifying promising areas of potential leapfrogging, the team tempered expectations and hype surrounding many novel technologies and the possibility of their mainstreaming in medium term in the continent.

A summary of the initial findings co-authored by the consortium members can be found in the comprehensive report, Potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Africa. Certain country case studies which are non-confidential were also published on this portal. The initiative has garnered international attention, sparking conversation and enthusiasm based on the initial analysis and findings.

In February 2020, the report was launched in Abidjan, and TIV hosted numerous workshops targeting ministries in charge of the digital economy, industry and investments; the private sector; civil society organizations; and development partners. TIV experts also presented their proposals to highest echelons of AfDB on how AfDB could ignite digital innovation within the organization and develop new lending and non-lending instruments for client countries.

 

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