Is Namibia ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
President Hage Geingob has appointed a task force to assist in preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The task force has 12 months to determine whether Namibia is ready.
20 July 2021 | Technology
“It is seemingly too early to talk about 4IR when we cannot even do online learning for every phase of education from primary to varsity.”-Rivaldo Kavanga - committee chairperson of the Children’s Parliament
Namibia and some parts of the world are being steered into a new industrial forthcoming, which is set to change the way we live.
The world has faced three industrial revolutions - the first focused on steam power and mechanisation of manufacturing; the second on mass production; the third on internet technology.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) will build on the third, but be fundamentally different in its scope and complexity.
Major transformations should be expected that promise to be disruptive to all industries everywhere, especially for their production systems, management as well governance.
According to Rivaldo Kavanga in his capacity as the committee chairperson of the Children’s Parliament, 4IR has come to better our lives with technology.
“4IR means the coming of an age where technology is more advanced and helps us to live our lives more efficiently and effectively,” he said.
Kavanga added that a small minority of the Namibian youth will have the bare minimum skills to perform the special task that comes with 4IR, however, a large group of young people will not be able to perform or cooperate with the revolution.
“It is seemingly too early to talk about 4IR when we cannot even do online learning for every phase of education from primary to varsity.
“We cannot talk about 4IR while we still have students who start their first year at varsity and have to take two to three months to learn how to effectively use a laptop or computer. Simply put, the Namibian youth is not ready for 4IR”, he said.
The revolution will have both positive and negative implications on Namibia and the youth, as they are supposed to accelerate 4IR.
According to economist Mally Likukela, harnessing 4IR should answer real questions such as high unemployment.
“Namibia has graduated over 20 000 students last month. How is 4IR assisting these young graduates to secure opportunities? How is 4IR assisting government to root out corruption?” he asked.
He added that if 4IR does not speak to these questions, it will be just like any other initiative we’ve seen in the past.
“4IR must be that catalyst to the betterment of Namibia and the world at large; therefore we need to embrace it. We must not forget that it comes at a cost,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Hage Geingob appointed an eight-member task force on 5 July to assist the government in preparing for 4IR for 12 months.
In the appointment letter, Geingob said: “The establishment of a 4IR task force is set out under the economic advancement pillar of the Harambe Prosperity Plan II.
This task force will be required to determine the readiness of Namibia for 4IR and make recommendations towards a coordinated and coherent policy and legislative framework.
“Moreover, the task force should assist the government in harnessing the full potential presented by the confluence of technologies for the future of work and socio-economic development of Namibia,” he said.
Geingob appointed the pro-vice-chancellor of research, innovation and development at the University of Namibia (Unam), Professor Anicia Peters, as the chairperson of the task force.
According to Peters, one of the thematic areas of the task force will be funding instruments and investments on how to make it a reality.
Peters added that institutions like the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and Unam have started to revise curricula to ensure that students are equipped with the right skills to survive 4IR.