Limpopo, South Africa: THE MICT SETA, together with its partners, have recently launched the Research Chairs Initiative at the University of Limpopo.

The Research Chairs Initiative intends to produce solutions to the challenges brought on by the digital divide and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).  Present at the launch were industry partners, provincial political leadership, senior government administrators, ZADNA strategic partners and the MICT SETA itself.

The core objective of the Research Chair Initiative is to spearhead and drive research in respect to innovative solutions in the ICT sector and 4IR research programmes. Its solutions will include innovative ICT programmes benefitting rural development and acting as a data collection hub to assist with governmental and industry Implementation of MICT 4IR learning Programmes.

CEO of the MICT SETA, Mr Matome Madibana, said, “The partnership between the MICT SETA, The University of Limpopo and ZADNA, is aimed at addressing the ICT skills gap and assisting our population in adapting to 4IR in South Africa, ensuring that we are manufacturing skills which are needed in this evolving landscape.”

Each industrial revolution has changed how societies function, with rapid and fundamental change predicted for the current era. The shift from labour-intensive production to knowledge and skills-intensive production means countries will need a ready pool of digital, technical, and commercial expertise to benefit from emergent technologies. This is but one of the many aspects of the Digital Divide that the Research Chairs initiative will aim to assist with.

Mr Madibana further added, “We expect a large-scale decline in some areas of paid work as tasks within these roles become automated or redundant, accompanied by growth in new products and services, and associated new tasks and paid work, generated by the adoption of new technologies. Rural communities struggle to maintain the pace at which digital connectivity grows, i.e., Internet and broadband infrastructures are hard to penetrate in these communities. Therefore, we have partnered with our industry partners to launch the Research Chair initiative here in Limpopo to help people keep up with the digital world and the skills needed in this era”.