BRICS states prepare for fourth industrial revolution

President Vladimir Putin and President Cyril Ramaphosa (Twitter: BRICS)

President Vladimir Putin and President Cyril Ramaphosa (Twitter: BRICS)

Technology is the biggest disruptor, and BRICS countries plan to upskill, provide opportunities as well as develop policies to deal with both the opportunities and challenges presented by industry 4.0.

As leaders gathered on Thursday for their session, they announced that BRICS will be establishing the BRICS partnership on the new industrial revolution.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said unless the fourth industrial revolution is approached in a collaborative manner — underpinned by a developmental agenda — rapid technologies could serve to entrench existing disparities within and between countries.

“By working together, I am certain that we will be able to confront the challenges and seize the opportunities that this new of development presents.”

Ramaphosa also urged BRICS countries to formulate and institute policies to deal with the fourth industrial revolution. Each BRICS country presented measures it has taken to deal with the coming of a new age.

Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed that BRICS should expand on people-to-people exchanges and a joint skills venture where its citizens can learn more about each other’s cultures.

“When it comes to people and cultural exchanges, there is a lot that we can do together ... and we should aim more on people to people connectivity in culture, sport, tourism and other areas,” said Jinping.

He said these joint cultural initiatives would take place through the visitation of museums, art galleries and libraries to strengthen the friendship BRICS amongst the countries citizens.

Brazil is working to enhance its education system to meet the demands of technology by reforming its rigid and outdated school curriculum.

“We have introduced a new model that introduces student autonomy,  as we identified that students enjoy conducive environments that allow them to enjoy their professional call.” said Brazil’s president, Michel Temer.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told the other BRICS countries that digitisation is at the centre of his country’s economic policy and it has since adopted the national technological initiative, a set of measures to guarantee the development of Russia until 2035.

Russia has also launched the economy of Russia programme which “we expect that it will increase the labour force by 30% by 2024”, said Putin.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi noted the far-reaching impact and consequences the technological revolution will have on job retention in countries such as those in BRICS.

He said, however, it will be difficult to measure its impact on human values. Pointing to a focus on future jobs and opportunities available for youth, Modi emphasised that BRICS countries should up-skill its workers, students and professionals to ensure that have jobs in the future.

As part of preparing the youth for the future “India has embarked on a national skills mission to provide relevant skills and vocational training for our youth that both men and women have access to affordable education,” said Modi.

He also warned BRICS countries the fourth industrial revolution will increase cybersecurity and proposed that the countries should share best practices to deal with the threat.

​Thulebona Mhlanga

​Thulebona Mhlanga

Thulebona Mhlanga is financial trainee journalist  at the Mail & Guardian, currently enrolled for a masters in politics at the University of Johannesburg. In addition to her fervent interest in business writing, reading and educating others around issues of financial literacy, she volunteers her time to projects assisting women and promoting social justice.  Read more from ​Thulebona Mhlanga

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