South African Centre for the 4IR heads the line-up on final day of SFSA 2020


The virtual 2020 Science Forum South Africa (SFSA) will wrap up on Friday, 11 December with a debate on the topic "Disruptive technology: narrowing or widening inequality" presented by the South African affiliate centre of the World Economic Forum's Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

The final day of SFSA 2020 will also see the launch of two major new international innovation partnerships, a South Africa-Ireland technology development fund and a South Africa-China cross-border incubation exchange, as well as a number of parallel sessions.

The South African Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR-SA) is hosted at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), an entity of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI). The centre aims to mobilise public-private partnerships to co-create enabling governance frameworks to optimally harness the potential of 4IR technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and big data for societal advancement.

The C4IR-SA debate will focus on how governance of the 4IR and its disruptive technologies should be shaped to effectively address the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. It will also interrogate emerging technology governance challenges related to the global imperative to promote economic recovery and reconstruction in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the session, opportunities for partnering with the C4IR-SA will also be presented to industry, academia and civil society.

Prof. Alison Gillwald, Executive Director of Research ICT Africa, will open the session with a critique of the contemporary response to the 4IR. Prof. Fulufhelo Nelwamondo of the CSIR will follow this up with a presentation on the value proposition of collaboration with the C4IR‑SA. The session will conclude with a panel discussion featuring representatives from government, industry and civil society.

The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, launched the SFSA 2020 on Wednesday by expressing his pleasure that the science conversation could continue in spite of the complexities created by COVID-19.

The African Union's Commisioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor, said in her address that political leaders had to show the will to go beyond rhetoric. "It is now time for governments to be true to their word and invest in education, science and technology, and in doing this ensure African solutions to African problems," she said.

Parallel sessions taking place on Friday will cover a range of topics, including strengthening Africa's medicine manufacturing capacities, water quality and health research development, innovation partnerships in the Indian Ocean region, and the health diplomacy response to COVID-19.

The Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Mr Buti Manamela, will bring the 2020 instalment of SFSA to a close at 12:45.


Date:     11 December 2020

Time:     09:00 – 13:00 Room 1 (virtual)

To register for the virtual event, use the following link:


Issued by the Department of Science and Innovation

For more information, contact Veronica Mohapeloa at 083 400 5750.



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