4th IR 10 items
Recommended: How Africa Wins The 4th Industrial Revolution (forbes.com)
Historically, technology has been a major driver of human advancement. The agrarian revolution ended more than 50 millennia of a hunting-gathering lifestyle and ushered unprecedented population growth, urbanization and the development of knowledge and governance tools such as writing and democracy.

In just 2 centuries, the industrial revolution globalized the economy, with new forms of energy, organization, production and distribution capabilities; propelling industrialized countries into a golden age of prosperity.

But it also powered slave trade, colonization and two World Wars.Over the past few decades, the digital revolution made it possible for companies such as WhatsApp and Snapchat to reach billion dollar market valuations within 2 years and a few dozen staff, something that used to take the best companies of the industrial revolution 20  years and hundreds of thousands of staff to accomplish.

Today, the world stands at the cusp of the 4th industrial revolution, with the rapid convergence of technologies in the digital, biological and physical domains.

From the onset of the agrarian revolution in 10,000 BC, it took 6,000 years to double the world’s GDP. When the industrial revolution kicked in at around 1760, it took less than 100 years. With the computing revolution around the 60s, the time was reduced to less than 15 years.

The 4thindustrial revolution –digitally smart factories, cities and entire economies connected to the Internet-- has demonstrated that the rate of change will continue to accelerate.

Africa has essentially missed the opportunities of the second and third industrial revolutions. The continent is home to 16.3% of humanity but home to less 1% of the world’s billion dollar companies and only about 4% of  global GDP. 

Africa cannot afford, nor does it have to, miss the possibilities of the 4th Industrial Revolution.


Africa’s best opportunity to bridge the gap with the rest of the world is through unity of purpose: if Africa unites, connects everyone, empowers the young generation, embraces change and thinks exponentially, it could bridge the development gap with the rest of the world in around a decade.

UniteHere’s an example of what needs to be done. In 1994, MTN Group, a telecoms operator, was born in South Africa, while at the same time  Amazon was born in the United States. 25 years later, MTN is among Africa’s top 5 companies valued at $9B (as of Sept 2018) while Amazon became the world’s second trillion-dollar company this year after Apple.

What made Amazon grow 100 times faster than MTN? MTN operates a product-focused, linear business model in 24 different, low income markets, with different policy and regulatory constraints.
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    Francisco Gimeno - BC Analyst We strongly advocate for an Africa dedicated to the 4th IR. There are positive signs already. Urban youth debating about crypto and how blockchain can change business and society in their own countries. African based platforms for crypto and blockchain. Even governments (Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Sierra Leone...) debating officially. The African revolution for the 21st century has arrived.