South Africa Prepares For A More Tech-Friendly And “More Entrepreneurial” Government

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South Africa
President Cyril Ramaphosa, left, takes the national salute, alongside his wife Tshepo Motsepe, right, on their arrival for the State of the National Address at parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, Thursday June 20, 2019. (AP Photo/ Pool)

If South Africa wants to create its own Silicon Valley, it needs to be a more entrepreneurial state and focus its energies on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.

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“Given what we know today about the potential beneficial impacts of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), we must embrace this historic confluence of human insights and engagement, artificial intelligence and technology, to rise to the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality,” he said week at the first South African Digital Economy Summit.

South Africa has the continent’s most sophisticated economy, with a strong financial services industry and robust mobile market. But, with the world’s largest reserves of gold, and significant mineral resources, much of the country’s previous development has been linked to mining and manufacturing.

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“The digital revolution calls on the state itself to be a risk taker; to be entrepreneurial,” Ramaphosa said. “The digital revolution is an opportunity to build an entrepreneurial state, where government’s own appetite for risk and innovation inspires large-scale entrepreneurship and unlocks economic potential.”

“An entrepreneurial state should not only provide funding but should also have capacity to determine the strategic direction of entrepreneurship,” he added. 

Ramaphosa has established a high-level advisory panel of CEOs, academics and investors and other industry heavyweights; while the 4th Industrial Revolution Partnership for SA (4IRSA) is a partnership of the government’s communications department, state-owned telecoms utility Telkom, and the Universities of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and Fort Hare.

Read more at Forbes.