Spotlight: Helping Africa prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution


The Fourth Industrial Revolution ‘will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another,’ says Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF). The impact of rapidly evolving digital connections between people, products and machines will be far-reaching, and according to Schwab, will require a response that is ‘integrated and comprehensive, involving all stakeholders of the global polity, from the public and private sectors to academia and civil society’.

This is a challenge that the WEF is well placed to tackle, starting with its annual meeting of the world’s top leaders from the public and private sectors in Davos from 20 - 23 January. The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) is one of a handful of African civil society organisations invited to participate at Davos this year.

‘It is essential that we understand what the Fourth Industrial Revolution will mean for Africa,’ says Anton du Plessis, ISS Executive Director. ‘There’s a lot of interest here in the many opportunities it presents, but we could also see heightened inequality and threats to national and international security’.

Davos presents a unique opportunity to understand the global context and how ISS can contribute

Du Plessis will again have the opportunity to brief influential government and business leaders at Davos on African perspectives on human security. He is a WEF Young Global Leader and longstanding member of the Forum’s Global Agenda Council that helps determine the WEF’s overall programme of work. As a guest of the WEF, the Dangote Fellowship sponsored du Plessis’ participation at the meeting in Switzerland.

Davos presents a unique opportunity to understand the rapidly changing global context, and how organisations like the ISS can both contribute and adapt. ‘We’re seeing a fragmentation of global leadership’, says du Plessis. Dealing with economic, social and governance threats will require a different model of partnership, he believes – one that goes beyond leadership by governments. ‘The WEF is the preeminent forum for facilitating this through its public-private networks of people who actually make a difference on the ground’.

As a leading organisation that enhances human security in Africa, the changing global landscape requires the ISS to respond to new and complex threats that undermine Africa’s potential for growth and development. Many of these – like the emergence of non-state actors in violent conflict, cybercrime and terrorism – will likely be fuelled by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

For more information, contact:

Anton du Plessis, ISS:  +27 78 781 3619, [email protected]


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