The South African Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Media statement on the release of the Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group’s (IFWG) Position Paper on Crypto Assets

As the use of crypto assets continues to grow and evolve, a deeper collective understanding of this area is emerging, and regulators across the globe are formulating regulatory approaches that are proportionate to, and appropriate for, the benefits and risks of crypto assets.

Through the Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group (IFWG), a group of South African financial sector regulators have drafted a policy position paper on crypto assets. The purpose of this position paper is to provide specific recommendations for the development of a regulatory framework for crypto assets, including suggestions on the required regulatory changes to be implemented.

The position paper recommends, among other aspects:
• The implementation of an anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regime
• A licensing and supervisory regime from a conduct of business perspective
• A regulatory regime for the monitoring of cross-border financial flows

This position paper builds on a consultation paper on crypto assets that was first issued by the IFWG on 16 January 2019 (https://www.ifwg.co.za/wpcontent/uploads/2020/02/CAR_WG_Consultation_paper_on_crypto_assetsl.pdf).

The consultation paper highlighted the perceived benefits and risks of crypto asset-related activities, as well as policy proposals for a regulatory framework. It also provided an opportunity for all industry participants and stakeholders to submit comments on the proposals contained in the paper. The comments received were carefully considered in compiling the position paper released on 14 April 2020.

Members of the public and impacted role players and stakeholders are requested to provide comments on the position paper by 15 May 2020. Comments can be submitted by email to innovation@ifwg.co.za.

Access the recently released IFWG position paper on crypto assets here:
https://www.ifwg.co.za/wp-content/uploads/IFWG_CAR_WGPosition_Paper_on_Crypto_Assets.pdf

Notes to editors
Members of the Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group (IFWG) include the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), the National Credit Regulator (NCR), National Treasury (NT), the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

How to empower women entrepreneurs to grow Africa

This International Women’s Day, women in Africa have a lot to celebrate.

Rwanda ranked in the global Top 10 of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF’s) Global Gender Gap Report 2020. In the same index, Ethiopia ranked among the top five most-improved countries and has a woman president, Sahle-Work Zewde. Overall, since the last edition of the report, sub-Saharan Africa closed its gender gap by 68%. Despite variations across different countries, the gender gap in terms of health and survival is small in the region.

But having looked at the glass half full, it is also worth reflecting on the bad news.

The political empowerment gender gap in the region remains large. Only Ethiopia, Rwanda and South Africa have more than 48% women ministers. Regarding the economic participation and opportunity gender parity, there is also still more work to be done. Benin is the top performer in this space, having closed 84.7% of the gap.

I am deeply grateful for the opportunities, lucky breaks and support that I have received for decades from the many men in my life, from my father, brothers, friends, mentors and bosses. That notwithstanding, my experience working in the world of economics and finance, which is still dominated primarily by men leaders, the jury is still out about how ready the world is for women leaders.

It’s too much to ask women leaders to conform to the status quo. We must boost the growth of women business leaders.

A New Dawn

Africa has a long tradition of women entrepreneurs, with the most famous being the so-called Mama Benz of West Africa. Mama Benz became so wealthy by trading brightly coloured cotton fabrics preferred for local clothing that she could afford to buy Mercedes cars.

According to the World Bank, sub-Saharan Africa also has the highest rate of entrepreneurship globally, and this is the only region where the majority of entrepreneurs are women.

Yet most women businesses remain stuck at the micro level, unable to grow due to a range of factors. The report, Profiting from Parity: Unlocking the Potential of Women’s Businesses in Africa 2019, finds that barriers to growth and profitability include social norms, networks and strategic business decisions. In the context of the fourth industrial revolution, it is also alarming to note that the technology gender gap is widening, further crippling the growth potential of women entrepreneurs.

Also worrying is the growing digital divide – women are being left behind in the era of the fourth industrial revolution

With a view to showcase women entrepreneurs tackling these obstacles using new technologies, the WEF launched the first edition of Africa’s Top Women Innovators ahead of the World Economic Forum on Africa meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, in 2016. The top entrepreneurs were Natalie Bitature, Musana Carts; Audrey Cheng, Moringa School; Lilian Makoi Rabi, bimaAFYA; Nneile Nkholise, iMED Tech Group; and Larissa Uwase, Carl Group.

In 2017, the second edition of Africa’s Top Women Innovators was held ahead of the WEF on Africa meeting in Durban. The top entrepreneurs were Oluwayimika Angel Adelaja, Fresh Direct Nigeria; Temie Giwa-Tubosun, Lifebank; Esther Karwera, Akorion; Darlene Menzies, Finfind; Aisha Pandor, SweepSouth; and Charity Wanjiku, Strauss Energy.

These initiatives to highlight women-led start-ups leveraging the fourth industrial revolution raised awareness about the innovations emerging from Africa, as well as the opportunities and challenges faced by women entrepreneurs. Accordingly, at the WEF on Africa meeting 2019 in Cape Town, the first Africa Scaling Start-ups Programme was launched with the goal of helping scalable start-ups that have raised more than $1-million to grow in their industries and markets.

Participating women start-ups were Fatoumata Ba, Janngo; Charlene Chen, BitPesa; Audrey Cheng, Moringa School; Yael Joffe, 3X4 Genetics;  Leanne Kemp, Everledger; Doreen Kessy, Ubongo; Mary Mwangi, Data Integrated; Vivian Nwakah, Disrupt Tech Africa; and Sandiso Sibisi, Co Open Innovation Studios.

Bridging the gaps

With deliberate efforts, the trickle of about 20% of high-growth women start-ups can increase and bridge the inclusivity gaps in their respective economies and societies.

Forging ahead also requires society at large to confront the ugly reality of physical and emotional violence that women are too-often confronted with. Violence against women is a growing phenomenon and holds back individual progress both at work and at home. Personal security must be stepped up urgently.

Also worrying is the growing digital divide – women are being left behind in the era of the fourth industrial revolution. It does not bode well for the continent’s future if its potential entrepreneurs are locked out of the digital economy locally, regionally and globally.

In 2016, the WEF  launched the Internet for All initiative in Rwanda, followed by a launch of a country programme in SA in 2017. This initiative was a global call to action targeting about 4-billion people worldwide with no internet access. In recent years, there have been additional initiatives specifically designed to bridge the digital gender gap, including the Africa Smart Women and Girls initiative. More efforts are needed to find and scale innovative solutions.

A Better Future

As a child, I was a staunch advocate for equal opportunity. Decades later, I am personally taken aback by how little progress has been made in expanding the representation of women in business and politics.

I am grateful for the guidance and mentorship of, among others, former co-chairs of the WEF on Africa including Ellen Agler, Winnie Byanyima, Bineta Diop, Monhla Wilma Hlahla, Arancha Gonzalez Laya, Frannie Léautier, Graça Machel, and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. Under their leadership, we have steadily been able to increase the active participation of women leaders shaping the African agenda through public-private collaboration.

Still, it feels like a never-ending climb of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak. This must change. The evidence for actively integrating women leaders in management and leadership teams is unequivocal. It results in better decisions. It results in better outcomes. It is a wise decision for a better world. Let’s not just make it happen; let’s make it easier. 

Kanza is head of the Regional Agenda for Africa, World Economic Forum.

Governing the Coin: World Economic Forum Announces Global Consortium for Digital Currency Governance

Amanda Russo, Public Engagement, World Economic Forum, +1 415 734 0589; Amanda.Russo@weforum.org; Aylin Elci, Public Engagement, World Economic Forum, +41 22 869 3621; Aylin.Elci@weforum.org

  • Today, the World Economic Forum announces the first global consortium focused on designing a framework for the governance of digital currencies, including stablecoins
  • The Global Consortium for Digital Currency Governance will aim to increase access to the financial system through innovative policy solutions that are inclusive and inter-operable
  • Opportunities for financial inclusion will be only unlocked if the space is regulated properly and includes public-private cooperation across developed and high-growth markets.
  • For more information, please visit www.weforum.org. Share on social media using the hashtag #wef20

Davos, Switzerland 24 January 2020 – Following extensive consultation with the global community, the World Economic Forum announced today the Global Consortium for Digital Currency Governance. Digital currencies are often cited as a tool for financial inclusion, but this opportunity can be realized only when paired with good governance.

This is the first initiative to bring together leading companies, financial institutions, government representatives, technical experts, academics, international organizations, NGOs and members of the Forum’s communities on a global level. To tackle the challenge ahead, an international, multistakeholder approach with the public and private sectors working alongside civil society is needed.

This consortium will focus on solutions for a fragmented regulatory system. Efficiency, speed, inter-operability, inclusivity and transparency will be at the heart of this initiative. It will call for innovative regulatory approaches to achieve these goals and build trust. A set of guiding principles will be co-designed to support public and private actors exploring the opportunities that digital currencies present.

“Digital currency, a cross-cutting topic that requires input across sectors, functions, and geographies, is a key area of interest for the Forum,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. “Building on our long history of public-private cooperation, we hope that hosting this consortium will catalyse the conversations necessary to inform a robust framework of governance for global digital currencies.”

“Any evaluation of digital currencies should consider both policy and business objectives, as well as the unique circumstances that face different economies around the world, in order to fully evaluate their risks and benefits,” said Lesetja KganyagoGovernor of the South African Reserve Bank. “Bringing together diverse perspectives through this consortium will allow for this holistic review. In order to achieve this, we need the public and private sector to collaborate.”

“While digital currencies offer wide possibilities, these have to be assessed against the fundamental objectives of economic advancement and shared prosperity,” said Patrick Ngugi Njoroge, Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya. “Global governance of the diverse initiatives provides greater assurance of this outcome.”

“Governance is the core pillar of any form of digital currency,” said Mark Carney,Governor of the Bank of England. “It is critical that any framework on digital currencies ensures security, efficiency and legitimacy of payments while ensuring fair and open competition. We welcome the World Economic Forum’s platform to help develop a robust governance framework for inclusion through digital currencies.”

“We are exploring the potential that properly-regulated digital currencies hold for cheaper and faster cross-border payments, financial inclusion, and rooting out illicit finance,” said Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister, Singapore and Chairman, Monetary Authority of Singapore. “This dialogue between public and private sector players is now essential, so we find the right roles for each in realizing this potential.”

“We are watching closely as digital currencies increasingly become an area of focus around the world,” said Eric Parrado, Chief Economist, Inter-American Development Bank. “They may unlock new opportunities for efficiency and inclusion, but this can only happen with the appropriate infrastructure and guardrails.”

“The release of digital currencies will have far-reaching implications, from domestic financial stability to international trade,” said Rania A. Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, Egypt. “As such, it is imperative that efforts to regulate digital currencies are well-informed, collaborative, and global in nature.”

“Building on our collaboration around the World Economic Forum’s Central Bank Digital Currency Toolkit, we are eager to continue exploring the pillars of well-informed approaches to digital currency through this consortium,” said Rasheed Al Maraj, Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain.

“Having witnessed firsthand technology leapfrog East and West African financial markets forward over the last decade, we are excited that this initiative will bring leaders from around the world to share best practices and will work on truly global policy recommendations,” said Elizabeth Rossiello, Chief Executive Officer of AZA Finance.

“We welcome the dialogue the World Economic Forum is facilitating about digital currencies,” said David Marcus, Head of Calibra, Facebook, Libra Board Member. “We agree that good regulation is important for the success and safe adoption of digital currency platforms and are looking forward to continue to engage in this constructive conversation.”

“Digital currencies have the potential to improve access to financial markets, but proper oversight and governance are required,” said Rob Heyvaert, Founder and Managing Partner of Motive Partners. “The World Economic Forum is uniquely placed to bring together the private and public sectors to discuss these issues and tackle the challenges ahead.”

“Digital currencies are a tremendous opportunity to make the financial system more accessible and fair,” said Neha Narula, Director, Digital Currency Initiative,Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). “Creating an inclusive, integrated global digital currency system requires dialogue across stakeholders ranging from finance ministers to open source developers, and the World Economic Forum is in an ideal position to facilitate this important conversation.”

“Trust is needed in this space now more than ever,” said Joseph Thompson, Chief Executive Officer of AID:Tech. “Creating new economic opportunities and a paradigm shift in how technology is used can benefit all societies. What we need now is multistakeholder cooperation that is anchored in principles of social justice.”

“It’s rare that such an important global organization takes into consideration the context of developing countries in the application of Fourth Industrial Revolution technology to achieve the SDGs,” said Maria Antonia Arroyo, Principal of the Ignite Impact Fund. “Stablecoin is an important development that, if properly implemented and responsible to the concerns of civil society, will be effective at universal financial inclusion.”

“New technologies, like blockchain, have helped catalyze a revolution in the mechanics of money,” said Joseph Lubin, Founder of ConsenSys. “We applaud the efforts by the WEF in actively researching digital currencies, including those that are blockchain-based, as a means to foster innovation but also ensure that central banks can maintain their role as stewards of the economy. The future of money is digital and central banks and the public sector have a crucial part to play in ensuring that this future is sustainable, inclusive and positive for society.”

This initiative builds on work done by the Forum over the past year, convening a global community of central banks to co-design a policy framework for the adoption of digital currencies. The Forum’s Global Technology Governance Summit will take place in San Francisco from 21-22 April. Governance of digital currency will be a core pillar.

About the Annual Meeting 2020

The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020 will take place from 21 to 24 January 2020 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. The meeting brings together more than 3,000 global leaders from politics, government, civil society, academia, the arts and culture as well as the media. Convening under the theme, Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World, participants will focus on defining new models for building sustainable and inclusive societies in a plurilateral world. For further information, please click here.


Notes to editors

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The World Economic Forum, committed to improving the state of the world, is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. (www.weforum.org).

Why fixing Africa’s data gaps will lead to better health policies

African countries continue to work towards achieving national and regional commitments to improving data collection and use. But it’s critical that governments invest in relevant, timely and accurate data production for decision-making. Data actors including data managers, statisticians and data analysts need to be involved at every stage. They need to be part of mapping out the problems as well as designing research methodologies and figuring out how to collect, analyse and disseminate data. A wide range of data, including earth observation and geospatial data, needs to be leveraged to review progress in meeting health and wellbeing targets. This is critical to improving the effectiveness and sustainability of health systems.

SOURCE: THE CONVERSATION

For the full paper please visit https://theconversation.com/why-fixing-africas-data-gaps-will-lead-to-better-health-policies-111869

Where is South Africa’s industrial internet of things innovation?

A growing number of inventive startups has fed expectations that South Africa can be a hub for innovation in the industrial internet of things (IIoT). And while there has been progress and examples of the deployment of IIoT-related technology in the industrial sector in the country, there are roadblocks to more rapid growth, typically involving difficulty in making the business case for implementing new applications. IIoT is a subset of IoT that includes connecting devices and machinery in industrial sectors to monitoring, control and data analysis systems. It involves the merger of enterprise IT with operational technology, or OT – the instrumentation of physical devices and processes. In South Africa, 2019 was to be the year that home-grown startups would lead innovation in the sector, according to Frost & Sullivan’s 2019 ICT trends for South Africa. Whether the actual number of IIoT deployments has lived up to expectations may be debatable, but there appears to be broad interest in field.

SOURCE: CIO

For the full paper please visit https://www.cio.com/article/3518819/where-is-south-africas-industrial-internet-of-things-innovation.html

Artificial Intelligence in Africa – Will 2020 be a Tipping Point for African AI?

Way back in 2017, one could arguably view as the mainstream awakening of AI’s “Third Coming” by the release of PwC’s study of the economic impact of artificial intelligence on the world’s economy by 2030. The study found that AI could increase global GDP by 14% (approx $115.7 trillion) making it the biggest commercial opportunity in the global economy. That very same report estimates that the technology could also increase the GDP of Africa, Oceania and other Asian markets by 5.6 %, which is about $11.2 – trillion (but excludes China and developed Asia) so it stands to reason that Africa will reap significant economic rewards from AI – Right?  However, the 2019 Government AI Readiness Index paints a familiar and somewhat predictably glum picture for the African continent in global indices of this nature. There are no African countries in the top 50 positions, and only 12 African countries (out of 54 in the list) are in the top 100. The top five placed African governments –Kenya, Tunisia, Mauritius, South Africa, and Ghana– reflects the well-documented developments in the technology sectors of these countries.

SOURCE: AI EXPO AFRICA

For the full paper please visit http://aiexpoafrica.com/2020/01/06/artificial-intelligence-africa-will-2020-tipping-point-african-ai/

The path to digital revolution for businesses in SA

Digital transformation is more than just integrating the latest piece of tech into one of your processes. It’s about true digital transformation that is integrated into all areas of the business. This means that you’re forced to disrupt and shift services from manual only to online – but at the same time, rebuild your business culture, redesign products to be digital-first, allow marketing and sales to leverage digital, and add new capabilities into your environment in order to maximise on what the 4th industrial revolution offers. South African businesses are beginning to understand that this new way of thinking can actually fit into their business models, they can be technology-led and human-centred.

SOURCE: BIZCOMMUNITY

For the full paper please visit https://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/852/201430.html

4IR in Africa: The reality, opportunities, and risks

If Africa is to catch up with the rest of the developed world in terms of understanding and unpacking the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), it needs to start with defining it the “African way”. This was a common thread in 4IR panel discussions at Daily Maverick’s The Gathering. Digital entrepreneur and former executive director of the Cape Digital Foundation, Emma Kaye, warned that careful consideration needs to be given as to how 4IR is translated to the South African reality. Although smart cities have become a major talking point in government, Kaye raised a concern that the concept of smart townships has not yet been mooted.

SOURCE: DAILY MAVERICK

For the full paper please visit https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-03-06-4ir-in-africa-the-reality-opportunities-and-risks/

Blockchain of Things (BCoT): The Fusion of Blockchain and IoT Technologies

Both Blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) are the two major disruptive emerging constituents of the contemporary internet-enabled era of technology. As per Gartner Hype Cycle of Emerging Technologies 2018 (Panetta, 2018), both of these technologies are currently in their “peak of inflated expectations” while both are projected to highly likely require another “5 to 10 years” to mature. In fact, comparing with the Gartner’s 2017 (Gartner, 2017) predictions, Blockchain – without changing much – hovered at its current ongoing position on the hype cycle. On the contrary, the locus of IoT has progressed reasonably – prevailing within the same arc (i.e. peak of inflated expectations) of the curve – moving downwards crossing the pinnacle – however, IoT pedalled back on the level of maturity from “2 to 5 years” to the current state of “5 to 10 years”. Such regression of IoT, in terms of reaching maturity level, however, is justified by its widespread adoption in multifaceted applications and the security concerns raised thus far. In fact, both of these technologies are distributed, autonomous and mostly decentralised systems possessing connatural potentials to act as complementary to each other. IoT requires strengthening its security features while Blockchain inherently possesses them due to its extensive use of cryptographic mechanisms and Blockchain – in an inverted manner – needs contributions from the distributed nodes for its P2P (Peer-to-peer) consensus model while IoT rudimentarily embodies them within its architecture. This chapter, therefore, acutely dissects the viability, along with prospective challenges, of incorporating Blockchain with IoT technologies – inducing the notion of Blockchain of Things (BCoT) – as well as the benefits such consolidation can offer.

For the full paper please visit https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1910/1910.06898.pdf

Industrial blockchain based framework for product lifecycle management in industry 4.0

Product lifecycle management (PLM) aims to seamlessly manage all products, information, and knowledge generated throughout the product lifecycle for achieving business competitiveness. Conventionally, PLM is implemented based on standalone and centralized systems provided by software vendors. The information of PLM is hardly to be integrated and shared among the cooperating parties. It is difficult to meet the requirements of the openness, interoperability and decentralization of the Industry 4.0 era. To address these challenges, this paper proposed an industrial blockchain-based PLM framework to facilitate the data exchange and service sharing in the product lifecycle. Firstly, we proposed the concept of industrial blockchain as the use of block-chain technology in the industry with the integration of IoT, M2M, and efficient consensus algorithms. It provided an open but secured information storage and exchange platform for the multiple stakeholders to achieve the openness, interoperability and decentralization in era of industry 4.0. Secondly, we proposed and developed customized blockchain information service to fulfil the connection between a single  node with the blockchain network. As a middleware, it can not only process the multi-source and heterogeneous data from varied stages in the product lifecycle, but also broadcast the processed data to the blockchain network. Moreover, smart contract is used to automate the alert services in the product lifecycles. Finally, we illustrated the blockchain-based application between the cooperating partners in four emerging product lifecycle stages, including co-design and co-creation, quick and accurate tracking and tracing, proactive maintenance, and regulated recycling. A simulation experiment demonstrated the effectiveness and efficiency of the proposed framework. The results showed that the proposed framework is scalable and efficient, and hence it is feasible to be adopted in industry. With the successful development of the proposed platform, it is promising to provide an effective PLM for improving interoperability and cooperation between stakeholders in the entire product lifecycle.

For the full paper please visit https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S0736584519300596?token=C57A5E4C87C5A13533C3C528ABEEF224FC1E098A24B4549ECC28FD702E15A9C5EDBA2EB8C2A8B0A2286F705E8214A698

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