The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Deloitte SA, agree to draw on complementary skills, technical expertise and capabilities to support the World Economic Forum Affiliate Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution South Africa (C4IR SA) in its work of accelerating the application of emerging technologies for the benefit of the South African society.

The MoU was signed by Dr Thulani Dlamini, CEO of the CSIR, and Lwazi Bam, CEO of Deloitte SA.

The CSIR is the host of the C4IR SA, a centre established by the government of the South Africa, acting through the Department of Science and Innovation (the DSI), to assist in strengthening the enabling environment and facilitate the adoption of transformative technologies through the development of technology governance frameworks and policy implementation protocols informed by South Africa’s socioeconomic imperatives and shaped by South Africa’s unique contexts and circumstances as a developing economy.

The C4IR SA has entered into partnerships with the World Economic Forum as an affiliate centre in the global C4IR Network to leverage digital growth opportunities across the global network.

Among other things, Deloitte also agreed to contribute to the Centre’s overall operationalisation, establishment, strategy and development into a fully-fledged C4IR, through technical expertise and strategic advice.

The partnership between the two organisations is based on the voluntary collaborative execution of future projects and the mapping of new projects, the profiling and showcasing of projects, and providing human capital and other resources to support the delivery of projects. The key focus is on technical expertise and project implementation, and supporting the development of C4IR-SA policies, processes, procedures and systems.

Deloitte joins other corporates and organisations, such as CorporaciĆ³n Ruta N Medellin and Siemens SA, which have also pledged their support to the centre by signing agreements with the CSIR to unlock the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.

Dr Dlamini comments: “Public-private partnerships such as these are important in ensuring that South Africa has the necessary policies, regulations and frameworks that will enable inclusive and sustainable adoption of 4IR technologies. We are pleased to work with Deloitte as it will give us an opportunity to maximise and leverage on the capabilities from both organisations.”

According to Bam: “Deloitte is committed to working with the C4IR SA to create an enabling ecosystem for business to embrace the value of digital transformation. The key objective is to improve South Africa’s competitiveness to ensure that we enhance South Africa’s economic prospects. By playing our part in the broader communities within which we operate, we create opportunities for more inclusive growth that can close both the digital and economic divide.”

Dr Ntsibane Ntlatlapa, the newly-appointed C4IR SA head, calls on the private sector, government, academia and civil society to join the Centre to co-design technology governance frameworks in the country.

“Global trends point to a shift towards adopting agile software developments methods, and the development of technology governance frameworks and policy implementation protocols. Thus, these technology governance systems should prioritise outcomes over rules; they should prioritise piloting and responding to changes over following an elaborate plan; and they should favour collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders over exercising control.

“South Africa cannot be left behind in this revolution. The C4IR SA was established as a platform for stakeholders in both the public and private sectors to co-develop and pilot these technology governance frameworks and policy implementation protocols to keep up with the pace of technology evolution,” he says.