Digital Industrial Policy Framework


Advances in technologies are disrupting production processes in unprecedented ways across industries around the world. These changes are bringing new opportunities for improving productivity and competitiveness in various sectors but are also bringing new challenges. History has shown that successfully managing the structural changes driven by technology is crucial for ensuring wider benefits. It is therefore critical to understand the nature of the disruptions for different industries. The Industrial Development Think Tank (IDTT) supported by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) is working on a programme of research deepening understanding of processes of technological change in the context of industry 4.0. This will inform a digital industrial policy framework and a policy issues paper.

There are several processes underway relating to the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ and digitalization, especially those focused on the technological changes. The work of the IDTT complements other work underway in assessing the implications for industrial development (and associated industrial and trade policies) in the context of South Africa’s development challenges. The analysis underway is considering the key transversal issues and the implications for production systems and value chains.

The main components of the process to develop the policy issues paper, as an input to the framework, are as follows:

  • Compilation of issues briefs on a selection of key South African manufacturing sectors, and their associated value chains and clusters

  • A process of dialogues drawing on authoritative voices regarding the position of South African manufacturing industry and related services in comparative international context (and especially within Global Value Chains, GVCs)

  • Colloquium including international and local experts and institutions working on these issues

The combination of issues relating to digitalisation include both the different types of technology-induced disruptions which are commonly captured under the Fourth Industrial Revolution banner and the factors which affect firm-level responses, including the implications for GVCs, clusters, financing of investment and skills requirements. 

A collaboration between the Department of Trade and Industry, CCRED, the SARChI Chair in Industrial Development, and B&M Analysts

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