Expert urges FG to brace up for 4th industrial revolution

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By Anayo Ezugwu

THE federal government has been urged to brace up for the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution. Babatope Ogunniyi, senior lecturer at the department of Economic, University of Lagos, noted that the fourth industrial revolution is projected to bring disruptive changes to the labour market.

Speaking at the 2019 World Stage Economic Summit in Lagos, Ogunniyi disclosed that the demand for highly skilled labour is projected to increase and the digital transformation and innovations in the fourth industrial revolution demand a new breed of workers, one this is skilled and innovative. He regretted that the fourth industrial revolution would increase inequalities and job losses in most developing countries like Nigeria.

“The fourth industrial revolution has renewed fears of massive job losses. Many of the major drivers of transformation currently affecting global industries are expected to have a significant impact on jobs, ranging from significant job creation to job displacement, and from heightened labour productivity to widening skills gaps,” he said.

Ogunniyi said the technological revolution would lead to a supply-side miracle, with long-term gains in efficiency and productivity. “Transportation and communication costs will drop, logistics and global supply chains will become more effective and the cost of trade will diminish, all of which will open new markets.

“The revolution would certainly disrupt the labour market which will lead to inequality. As automation substitutes for labour across the entire economy, the net displacement of workers by machines might exacerbate the gap between returns to capital and returns to labour. Conversely, this displacement of workers by technology may, in aggregate, result in a net increase in safe and rewarding jobs.”

As a result, Ogunniyi charged the federal government to be responsible for developing and implementing an enabling environment for digital transformation and innovation. “We should thus grasp the opportunity and power we have to shape the fourth industrial revolution and direct it toward a future that reflects our common objectives and values.

“Developing economies, in particular Nigeria must develop a comprehensive and globally shared view of how technology is affecting our lives and reshaping our economic, social, cultural, and human environments. The tracking and sharing of information about us is a crucial part of the new connectivity, unfortunately we are fed with information that is good, bad and ugly.

“Biotechnology and Artificial Intelligence, which are redefining what it means to be human by pushing back the current thresholds of life span, health, cognition, and capabilities, will compel us to redefine our moral and ethical boundaries. Technological revolution will lead to a supply-side miracle with long-term gains in efficiency and productivity.

“Transportation and communication costs will drop, logistics and global supply chains will become more effective and the cost of trade will diminish, all of which will open new markets. The revolution would certainly disrupt the labour market which will lead to inequality. As automation substitutes for labour across the entire economy, the net displacement of workers by machines might exacerbate the gap between returns to capital and returns to labour. Conversely, this displacement of workers by technology may in aggregate, result in a net increase in safe and rewarding jobs,” he said.

According to Ogunniyi, industrial revolution is one of the most celebrated turning points in human history. He said the revolution was as a result of economic expansion that started in the 16th century. He said that it took about a century from the first industrial revolution before the second revolution.

The lecturer noted that the speed at which the fourth industrial revolution is moving shows that the world might leave developing countries like Nigeria behind. According to him, the fourth revolution is rooted in digitalization.

“This digitalization enables us to build a new virtual world from which we can develop. The different players and connected objects in a production line, possible technology such as cloud, big data, analytics and the industrial internet revolution are unimaginable,” he said.

On his part, Segun Adeleye, president, World Stage Limited, said Nigeria missed out on the second and third industrial revolutions and should strive to dictate the pace of the fourth revolution in sub-Saharan Africa. He said the World Stage Economic Summit was designed to proffer solutions to economic challenges facing the country.

“We believe that using the new technologies and the opportunities that it offers, Nigeria can reduce unemployment and create jobs for our youths,” he said.

According to Adeleye, the federal government should channel the ingenuity of Nigerian youths into positive and productive means to move the economy forward. He also advocated that the government should ensure that Nigeria doesn’t become a dumping ground for other countries.

– Nov. 15, 2019 @ 11:49 GMT |

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