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Collaboration between African governments key to enabling innovation

SA Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams says African nations must provide the regulatory environment that would see them realise the potential presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Arabile Gumede in conversation with Minister of Communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2019 in Cape Town. Picture: EWN

Africa has been left behind by previous industrial revolutions, Minister of Communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams told Eyewitness News at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Cape Town.

This time it's different.

“We're here now! We're occupying this space,” she said. “It's Africans in the diaspora that are coming up with solutions. Whether you talk about artificial intelligence or people producing papers, they come from Africa!”

But it's not without its challenges.

Ndabeni-Abrahams said African nations must work hard at providing the regulatory environment that would see them realise the potential presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The continent's biggest challenge, however, is a lack of investment in innovation.

We have failed to invest in innovation. If Africa is to take its rightful place in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is high time that all the governments in Africa pay attention to innovation but, most importantly, to create an enabling environment for innovators to thrive so that the startups can grow and provide solutions.

Minister of Communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.

The minister lauded the launch by global car manufacturer Toyota of a host of connectivity features for all its cars sold in South Africa.

“The technology is produced in South Africa,” said Ndabeni-Abrahams. “The software is produced in South Africa. There's lots of talent in Africa. We need to nurture it.”

The minister will join other African leaders in Addis Ababa at the end of September to develop a “digital transformation strategy” for Africa.

“Let's get our house in order. Let's talk to each other. Let's collaborate instead of competing with each other.”

Click here to read more from the Digitisation for Good archive.

Click here to return to the 54 and 1 portal - brought to you by Standard Bank.

Listen to the full conversation between EWN's WEF correspondent Arabile Gumede and Minister of Communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.

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