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Africa and South Africa must embrace 4IR to compete in the global economic race

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Source: Tshilidzi Marwala, Daily Maverick, 6 July 2020, photo credit: Malwarebytes Labs

Research on the impact of artificial intelligence in 12 developed economies reveals that AI could double annual economic growth rates by 2035 and could increase labour productivity by up to 40%, increasing efficiency.As many South Africans continue to feel the pinch of the economic crisis, there seems to be a pervasive sense of resignation as to whether the country will ever pull itself out of this crisis. In 1982, US author Chalmers Johnson proposed the concept of a developmental state. This, Johnson explained in his book MTI and the Japanese Miracle, is a state that focuses on the growth and development of the economy, using interventionist policy measures. In Japan, this has led to sustained, rapid industrialisation and long-term economic development.

Asian countries such as Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Singapore are effective case studies of developmental states that have seen substantial economic growth. The lessons we learn from these countries is that emerging economies should leapfrog in order to become transformational. Leapfrogging is the quick jump in economic development by harnessing technology with consensus achieved by governments, the private sector and citizens – thus enabling development. This is what ignited the boom in Asian countries that opted to tap into manufacturing. The fears of automation already pervade different sectors of society, economy and politics.
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