President Hage Geingob has appointed an eight-member committee comprised of members from academia, the private sector and civil society, which will assist government in harnessing opportunities in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR).
State House press secretary Alfredo Hengari in a statement said the establishment of the task force is informed by the fact that the world has undergone a paradigm shift with the convergence of technologies, requiring a deeper understanding of the disruptive impact of 4IR on society. In establishing the task force, the President is also fulfilling a commitment made during the 2021 State of the Nation Address.
The 4IR is the ongoing automation of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices, using modern smart technology. The establishment of a 4IR force, according to Geingob is set out under the economic advancement pillar of the second instalment of the Harambee Prosperity Plan.
According to Hengari, this force will be required to conduct a country assessment 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 government in harnessing the full potential presented by the confluence of technologies for the future of work and the socio-economic development of Namibia,” said Geingob. The task force includes revered South African academic and vice chancellor of the University of Johannesburg Professor Tshilidzi Marwala.
Marwala, who is a computer scientist and mechanical engineer, is considered an expert in the industry and has written some books on the matter. He authored a book titled Closing the Gap which addresses the challenges and fears around the 4IR by pointing to the opportunities presented by new technologies and outlining some of the challenges and successes to date from the African perspective.
Another foreign national appointed to the task force is the managing director of Emerging Markets and Africa at accounting firm Deloitte Dr Martyn Davies.
The local panel comprises Unam vice chancellor Prof Kenneth Matengu, Prof Anicia Peters (Unam), Erold Naomab (NUST), Grace Hamauka (Bank of Namibia), Dino Balloti (Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board) and Nashilongo Gervasius-Nakale (Internet Society of Namibia). The appointment of the task force is with immediate effect until 30 June 2022.