Sahara spark 2019 hosted the event themed ' Africa 4.0, Africa in the Fourth Industrial Revolution' that took place in Dar es Salaam from 7th to 12th October. The event brought together stakeholders to discuss the role of technology, innovation and entrepreneurship in fostering social economic development in Africa.
The phrase fourth industrial revolution was first introduced by Klaus Schwab, the executive chairman of the World Economic Forum in 2015. This was also subject and title of Schwab's 2016 book. Schwab includes in this fourth era technologies that combine hardware, software, and biology (cyber-physical systems), and emphasizes advances in communication and connectivity. Schwab expects this era to be marked by breakthroughs in emerging technologies in fields such as robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, quantum computing, biotechnology, the internet of things, the industrial internet of things (IIoT), decentralized consensus, fifth-generation wireless technologies (5G), 3D printing and fully autonomous vehicles.1
At the event, key speaker, retired ambassador, Ami Mpungwe, pointed out that there was a need for Tanzania to have policies around the fourth industrial revolution to develop the country's economy.
"As a nation we need to have policies in place to go with the fast pace of the fourth industrial revolution. Solutions for our problems will not come from the silicon valley but will come out of ourselves. Hence it is important we create a conducive environment that will harness development through the fourth industrialization", said Rtd Amb. Mpungwe.
Former Director General of Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH), Dr. Hassan Mshinda said it is about time Tanzania takes note of the fourth Industrial Revolution as other East African countries such as Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda have already commissioned task forces to guide them on implementation of the fourth Industrialization.
In February 2019, President Kenyatta of Kenya commissioned a taskforce on blockchain. "We need to better understand the opportunities for Blockchain Technology, the risks of cybersecurity and the essential education and skills that our young people will need to make new technology work for them," said the President Kenyatta.
In April 2019, President Museveni of Uganda commissioned a 21 member expert task force to guide the country in the new technological era and urged the task force to find holistic ways to integrate technology to benefit people of Uganda.
We are at an age where data is gold. Companies now rely on data to understand their customers preferences and use it to create product and services that suit their need. Institution can also use data to monitor trends in the demographics. In this context it is important to have policies and regulation that promote the fourth Industrial revolution for social economic development.