Interview: Africa should step up efforts to embrace digital revolution: scholar

Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-05 23:57:30|Editor: yan
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ADDIS ABABA, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- African governments and the private sector should step up joint efforts to embrace advancements in the digital revolution that are fundamental to Africa's socio-economic development under the fourth industrial revolution, an Ethiopian scholar said on Thursday.

"Africa stands on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything that not just Africa but humankind has experienced before," Costantinos Bt. Costantinos, who served as an economic advisor to the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA), told Xinhua on Thursday.

"We do not yet know just how it will unfold, but one thing is clear that the response must be integrated and comprehensive, involving all African stakeholders - from the public to private sectors to academia and civil society," Costantinos added.

The scholar indicated that "the digital revolution is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres, which Africa has little or no experience and clue."

"When compared with previous industrial revolutions, the Fourth is evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace, and Africa should analyze the scale, scope, and complexity of the transformation," the scholar said.

Costantinos, however, underscored the need to protect Africa's indigenous cultural identity from the "disruptive nature of the digital revolution."

"Indeed, globalization impacts indigenous cultural identities of African societies, but sustainable development will not be achieved without economic growth and environmental sustainability for the future generation," the scholar argued.

The expert's call for Africa's public and the private sector actors to urgently embrace advancements in the digital revolution under the fourth industrial revolution came weeks after a similar call by the AU on the crucial importance of technological advancements for Africa's overall transformation.