President urges black business to seize 4IR opportunities

Saturday, March 2, 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on black business to seize the opportunities presented by the fourth industrial revolution.

“The technological changes of the 4th industrial revolution, alongside the effects of demographic shifts and climate change, are having a profound and increasingly uncertain impact on production, employment and social relations.

“We need to develop a coherent national strategy that mitigates the risks and seizes the opportunities of the 4th industrial revolution,” said the President.

This, he said, means business and society need to embrace lifelong learning, enabling working people to skill, reskill and upskill throughout their lives.

“It is for this reason that we are establishing the Presidential Commission on the 4IR, which will identify relevant policies, strategies and action plans that will position South Africa as a competitive global player,” said the President.

The President was addressing the Black Business Summit Gala Dinner convened by the Black Business Council (BBC), which wrapped up its two-day summit on Friday.

The summit kicked-off on Thursday under the theme ‘Economic Transformation within the Context of the 4th Industrial Revolution – a Catalyst for Inclusive Growth in the SA Economy’.

Government, labour, civil society and business converged at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand to discuss matters relating to the country’s economy. 

Amongst the issues the summit discussed was land reform, South Africa’s readiness for 4IR, comprehensive socio-economic transformation as well as mechanisms to increase the number of new entrants into the economy, thus creating much needed jobs and reducing unemployment.

Black Industrialists Programme


In addition, the President urged black business to make use of the government programmes such as the Black Industrialists Programme, which seeks to empower black business.

Since the programme began in 2016, over 130 black industrialists have been supported.

“As these black-owned companies succeed, there is an expectation that they will support the emergence of new black companies, create employment, contribute their due to the public fiscus, and that they will be good corporate citizens,” said the President.

Uplift women, youth and the disabled


Addressing the gala dinner, the President urged delegates to ensure that in their course of business, they aim to build an inclusive economy.  

“Growth will not be inclusive for as long as women have fewer opportunities for employment, skills development and advancement; for as long as they are less likely to start a business, access finance or own assets,” he said.

The President made a further plea for the empowerment and employment of youth and the disabled.

Concluding his keynote address, the President made a final call to business to work in unity.

The call for unity, comes amid a fall out between Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) and the BBC.

In an open letter on Wednesday, BUSA President Sipho Pityana accused BBC President Sandile Zungu of contributing to the crisis that afflicts State-owned companies (SOCs) and State institutions in general.

The President said without unity, South Africa would struggle to establish a social compact.

“South Africa will not achieve the inclusive growth we seek, unless we are able to forge a durable social compact that brings together all social partners behind a shared economic programme.

“Unless business is able to speak with one coherent voice, we will struggle to build that social compact,” appealed the President. –