Sierra Leone Telegraph: 29 August 2019:
President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone has called for “the right investment” to help prepare Africa for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
He was speaking at the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) held in Yokohama, Japan yesterday, Wednesday 28 August 2019.
The 4IR is the current and developing environment in which disruptive technologies and trends such as the internet, robotics, virtual reality and artificial intelligence (AI) are changing the way we live and work.
President Bio was addressing a group of about 50 African Heads of State and Government, during the opening plenary session of the TICAD7 Summit.
He said that the African continent missed out on the first, second and third industrial revolutions, and should not miss out on the fourth industrial revolution.
“If we do not prepare our children for the 4IR technologies we are going to miss out,” president Bio said, adding that the next generation should be familiar with AI, machine learning and big data algorithms.
As part of preparing for the 4IR, president Bio told the conference that his government has prioritised spending on human capital development, through its record budget allocation on education.
According to State House report, the president’s call for investment to prepare Africans for the 4IR is strategically aligned with the theme for this year’s TICAD7 in Japan, which is focusing on ‘advancing Africa’s development through people, technology and innovation’.
The State House report also says that president Bio regards the 4IR as more than just technology-driven change.
The president believes it’s an opportunity to help everyone, including leaders, policy-makers and people from all income groups and nations, to harness converging technologies in order to create an inclusive, human-centred future.
The president also used the occasion to inform the conference that his new administration has done a lot of reforms to make the country’s business climate more favourable for investors.
“We have doubled the number of businesses registered in one year. We have seen an upward trend in starting a business indicator and protecting minority investors,” said president Bio.