South Africa needs to invest in technology -- cutting-edge science and innovation -- in order to attract the newest industries which happen to hold jobs of the future, President Cyril Ramaphosa has said.
Addressing the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s (4IR) Youth Expo at St John’s College in Mthatha to commemorate Youth Day on Thursday, the president said that the country needed to invest in the skills of its people from the earliest age.
“We need to invest in transportation and communications networks that move goods and information quickly and seamlessly,” Ramaphosa said.
He said that the 4IR Youth Expo was “demonstrating the very many opportunities that exist right now for young people, thanks to technology.”
Technology, at the same time, would prepare the youth for the opportunities that still lay ahead, he added.
“It is our shared responsibility to ensure that all the young people of this country have the skills, knowledge, and desire to seize these opportunities and to thereby realise their great potential,” the president said.
Turning to data access and costs in the country, Ramaphosa said that it had emerged as one of the most significant barriers to digital equality and access, with some of the highest data costs on the continent.
“By simply lowering data costs, young people are more readily able to access information, and seek learning and earning opportunities. This isn’t just about cheaper or faster internet or having access to social media,” he said.
“It’s about connecting every corner of South Africa to the digital age. It’s about a rural community in Limpopo or Eastern Cape where farmers can monitor weather across the provinces and market their produce across the globe,” the president added.