SADC Industrialisation Futures: Towards Economic Wellbeing

Image: Getty, Krittanut Unsombut
Image: Getty, Krittanut Unsombut

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is to transform the region as per SADC Vision 2050, which seeks to build a competitive middle- to high-income industrialised society.

Summary:

  • Between the green economy (GE) and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0/ 4IR), there are new opportunities and challenges for industrialisation within  Southern African Development Community (SADC).
  • If Industry 4.0 is democratised and the GE takes hold, whole new industrialisation pathways – including GE clusters, bioeconomy clusters, and novel Industry 4.0 platforms – will open up.
  • Business can also capture Industry 4.0 benefits through monopolising first-mover advantages and pre-empting sustainability.
  • Greenwashing and carbon washing could create many potentially undesirable futures, such as gig-economy sweatshops and e-commerce-platform monopolies.
  • Policies should seek to hasten innovation to amplify pockets of desired emergent futures.
  • Key policies needed are those to improve readiness for 4IR, support sectors (especially mining) to shift towards a circular economy, and support the development of strong service sectors (‘industries without smokestacks’) among others.