WINDHOEK – Namibia needs to invest in technology and innovation, human capital and institutional framework in order to adequately prepare for the fourth industrial revolution (4IR). This is according to Bank of Namibia Governor, Iipumbu Shiimi, who echoed the criteria used by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in conducting a country’s readiness to embrace 4IR.
“Technology and innovation in this context is the extent to which a country has an advanced, secure, and connected ICT infrastructure to support the adoption of new technologies. Human capital refers to the country’s ability to respond to shifts in the production, especially focusing on skills required in new technology-intensive processes. Institutional framework looks at the effectiveness of government institutions and rules and regulations relevant to ensure advanced manufacturing methods,” said Shiimi on Friday during his remarks at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) spring graduation ceremony in Windhoek.
The 4IR is described as the current and developing environment in which disruptive technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) are changing the way in which people live and work. According to the World Economic Forum, the 4IR is a new chapter in human development, enabled by extraordinary technological advances equal to those of the first, second and third industrial revolutions. These advances are merging the physical, digital and biological worlds in ways that create both huge promise and potential threat.
“The speed, breadth and depth of this revolution is forcing us to rethink how countries develop, how organisations create value and even what it means to be human. The 4IR is expected to change the business models and new jobs will emerge partly or wholly replacing the old and redundant ones.
Furthermore, new industries and occupations will also emerge while old occupations will change as most industries are expected to respond to these changes. Thus, the 4IR brings in opportunities to help everyone, including policy-makers and most importantly the youth to harness converging technologies in order to create an inclusive economy and society. The real opportunity is to look beyond technology and find ways to give the greatest number of people the ability to positively impact their families, organisations and communities,” said Shiimi at the ceremony themed “Catalysing Youth Empowerment for the 4IR”.
The Bank of Namibia Governor cited that Deloitte (2018) lists workforce readiness, soft skills, technical skills and entrepreneurship as the four sets of skills that the youth need to prepare for future jobs. Shiimi explained that workforce readiness includes numeracy, digital literacy, self-presentation, time management etc; soft skills includes creative thinking, collaboration, initiative, leadership, self-confidence, growth mindset, cultural awareness etc; technical skills includes computer programming, coding, data analytics, project management, financial etc; and entrepreneurship includes initiative, innovation, creativity, industriousness, optimism, risk-taking, business acumen, business execution.
“Once you have developed these set of skills required for the jobs of today and also the jobs of the future, the next thing is to put shoulder to wheel. The youth should therefore work hard to establish their own digital companies which will create value and serve the world population. The youth should also develop products and services that can be sold on to existing platforms such as Alibaba, Amazon etc. This way you are not limited to the small Namibian market as you have access to the global market. Many of today’s digital companies were established by the youth,” Shiimi advised.