Africa’s 4th Industrial Revolution infrastructure needs?

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The 4th industrial revolution ushers in the era of data & analytics (D&A), the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, cognitive computing and artificial intelligence.

It is said that the speed of change will be, quite literally, inhuman, as the advance of D&A and cognitive and machine learning drive forward change more quickly than humans alone could ever achieve.

While adoption of these trends certainly holds significant potential for African economies to leapfrog, currently there are only a few nodes on the continent that are poised to take advantage of this next revolution – these include major hubs or cities in countries like Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa that have developed and/or already begun to implement smart cities strategies.

Possibly the biggest obstacle for the continent to adapt to this next revolution is the lack of sufficient infrastructure. It is well known that there is a direct correlation between infrastructure and; building or accessing markets, workforce productivity and – generally – economic growth and social development.

However, the reality in Africa is that it is a very large continent – one where its major economic hubs or nodes are geographically dispersed and there are 1000 of miles of still very rural land in-between them.

Although infrastructure development remains a key focus across the continent, up until now it has been climbing up the local agenda.

Most countries have been focused on what they need to do in-country to improve infrastructure networks – be it in power and water for basic services, transport networks, telecommunications, healthcare, etc. – and there has been little focus on collaborative strategies, planning or development of cross-border infrastructure projects.

Funding

Part of the challenge in Africa is that…


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