April 1, 2021

Futures and Beyond: Where 4IR and Creativity Meet

Andani.Africa, in partnership with the University of Johannesburg, undertook the Futures and Beyond Forum: Creativity and 4IR Research Project and Forum. The Forum was held in conjunction with the University of Johannesburg and was held online on 16 and 17 March 2021. It brought together leading minds in the area of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) and the Creative Industries in Africa. Looking to move beyond the buzzwords and vague phrases, through panels, workshops and events, the Forum began an africa-centric conversation on the role of creative industries in the continent’s future.

Some of the key highlights of the research:

Andani.Africa has undertaken research to map the potential for the arts within the Fourth Industrial Revolution, but also to begin to understand how the creative industries will be impacted by the inevitable technological changes. The Covid pandemic already began to give the industry a taste of these changes, with the sector being heavily impacted by the lockdowns as theatres, music venues and cinemas remained closed until level one, and large-scale events such as festivals remaining no-go’s for much of the public. According to the South African Cultural Observatory, “90% of the live music industry lost income due to COVID-19 and 25% indicated that they would not be able to continue with any elements of their business under lockdown” by November 2020. The creative sector has had to innovate, moving to online formats and seeking alternative revenue strategies through digital platforms.

Creativity is up from tenth place on the WEF’s list of critical skills in 2015 and is now fifth in 2020.

World Economic Forum 2020

Across Africa there is increasing investment into Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies and Industries. Investments are going into select technologies such as Internet of Things, Additive manufacturing and Drone technologies.  According to one African Development Bank report, more than R1,5 billion of venture capital was invested in African ‘Internet of Things’ start-ups by 2019, making it by far the most attractive 4IR technology for investors on the continent.  South Africa’s public sector has invested a total of R358 million into Additive Manufacturing research and development since 2014. More research needs to be done on how to enable greater investment within the creative industries and 4IR. Africa’s creative industries are estimated to employ about half a million people and generate approximately R615 billion in revenue. In South Africa, the creative Industries is It is one of the fastest growing sectors, contributing R63 billion to GDP per annum.

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