JOHANNESBURG, South Africa must acquire skills based in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) industry if the country is to cement its position in the fourth industrial revolution, says Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe.
As we exist in the digital age and in the midst of a universe that is continuously shrinking to become a global village, ICT and innovation are elements that underpin our future growth and development,” he said when he hosted a National Development Plan (NDP) Youth Ambassador Masterclass in Bryanston, Johannesburg, Tuesday, under the theme, “The Fourth Industrial Revolution as a Disruptor and Opportunity”.
If we are to dream of a brighter future for our country, it is essential that training in ICT and business development becomes integral in our education system. That is the best way we can cultivate the landscape for the prosperity of future innovators.”
South Africa sees the ICT industry as key to the future growth of the country, the continent and the globe. It arguably has the biggest potential to change the lives of millions of young people as it continues to produce jobs which were not even thought possible a few years ago.
The potential of the ICT industry is a source of positive news for South African youth, as they remain the hardest hit by the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality. The latest statistics indicate that 48 per cent of South African youth are unemployed.
Radebe said these are some of the challenges that must collectively be addressed with the urgency they deserve. We must raise a new generation of young people that will not be job seekers but job creators,” he added. “We need innovative young entrepreneurs who will play a significant role in the renewal of our economy. Entrepreneurship is a fundamental endeavour for economic emancipation.
It is our local innovators and entrepreneurs who will ultimately create the millions of jobs that we need to grow in order to have an inclusive economy.
Future projections indicate that an estimated 65 per cent of children entering primary school today will most likely work in roles which do not yet exist. This, Radebe said, is a significant opportunity for youth development.
We must expose the youth to as wide a variety of technological innovations as possible. Any initiative that seeks to empower the youth is an investment towards the future of our country, he added.
Radebe said the gathering was a vital step towards getting the country ready to fully and effectively participate in the fourth industrial revolution. It is the youth who stand to benefit the most from this [fourth industrial] revolution. It is for this reason that the youth must occupy the frontline trenches. One of the most significant tenets of the fourth industrial revolution is the power of ICT in transforming lives.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK