SA hosts Digital Economy Summit of holographic proportions

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President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s keynote address at the inaugural Digital Economy Summit (DES), taking place at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, will today be broadcast live via holographic projection to the Rustenburg Civic Centre in the North West.

The holographic projection of the summit is hosted by the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT) and North West provincial government, in partnership with Nokia and Vodacom.

According to a statement, this will be “the first live holographic broadcast of a head of state, showcasing South Africa’s readiness to be a leader in the 4IR [fourth industrial revolution]”.

Since coming into office, Ramaphosa and his administration have dedicated attention to Industry 4.0 and how to equip citizens with the necessary skills to thrive in a digital society.

During this time, the president has mandated the DCDT to lead the country’s Industry 4.0 efforts, and appointed a 30-member commission to advise government on 4IR policies, develop a framework for implementation of a multi-sectoral 4IR strategy, and coordinate, monitor and evaluate multi-sectoral initiatives that will position SA as a globally competitive player in 4IR.

The digital summit, which was announced to coincide with the launch of the fourth industrial revolution SA (4IRSA) partnership, was established to bring together all the major role-players to develop plans and share insights that will ultimately feed into a presidential 4IR strategy.

4IRSA is an alliance between the DCDT, Telkom, Deloitte and the universities of the Witwatersrand, Fort Hare and Johannesburg. The partnership has now been extended to include Huawei and Vodacom.

According to 4IRSA, DES seeks to kick-start a wide-ranging societal dialogue on the challenges and opportunities of (4IR). Furthermore, the two-day event aims to stimulate and curate a coherent national action plan that galvanises industry, labour, academia, public sector and society at large.

Other speakers in the line-up include internationally recognised geopolitical forecaster Dr George Friedman, Gauteng premier David Makhura, Wits VC professor Adam Habib, communications minster Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, as well as officials from Telkom, Vodacom and Huawei.

The summit will feature various breakaway sessions to interrogate key themes, including competitiveness, concentration and inequality; the future of work and jobs; society, state and citizen; opportunities; critical success factors; and the 4IR in the township economy.

To view the live stream of the summit, click here.

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