The 4th Industrial Revolution

Prioritizing Infrastructure Targets

The 4th industrial revolution is upon us. Can the continent’s infrastructure support this generation, and are we ready to prioritize critical targets?

In the past decade, delivering on large scale infrastructure projects has been our core passion. The Infrastructure Divide across Africa is still gaping, and tomorrow’s Africa is very ripe for infrastructure developments that will help it leapfrog the industrial mistakes and lessons of the past, and jump right into the 4th and 5th industrial revolution.

While the developing world races ahead with cutting edge technologies like autonomous driving and electric vehicles, machine learning, the Internet of Things, and blockchain technology; many African economies are still saddled with the development of basic infrastructure. But their young citizens are not waiting. Many young entrepreneurs across the continent are building programs for smartphones, and thriving as digital entrepreneurs.

In the age of digital entrepreneurship, sustainable economic development across the continent cannot happen without the adequate infrastructure of transportation and communication networks. Young African entrepreneurs are developing frugal digital products and service delivery platforms that are slowly permeating rural areas across the continent because of their simplicity.

Affordable Internet is a campaign that we passionately support because of its transformational possibilities. As governments expand infrastructure spending, and more bridges get built, more roads get paved, and more independent power plants get commissioned, we advocate that they must come with ICT infrastructure readily installed, and integrated. Strategically planned urbanization is critical to stem the continued wave of rural to urban migration, and essential to that is the provision of infrastructure across all societal spheres.

As individual African countries struggle with economic booms and busts, sustainability issues will arise. The cost of successfully executing and managing some of these projects are considerably high, and require a myriad of capital sources.

Is Africa ready for change? We could argue that Africa has been ready. Now more than ever, it has become mission critical to Africa’s progressive development that stakeholders across the continent prioritize infrastructure development as a key economic target.

About the Author

Jinmi Olanuiga is the Principal Consultant for Business Unusual Ltd, a boutique technology, media and telecoms (TMT) consulting firm that focuses on large scale infrastructure projects that sustainably develop Africa. His primary role is in the implementation of projects and businesses that significantly improve broadband penetration and Internet access in Nigeria. His firm wrote Nigeria’s first ever Broadband Plan, and specializes in Project Execution and Management.