Industry 4.0: the jobs of tomorrow

Posted by Fed Africa in Career advice
Posted at 29/05/2023
Industry 4.0: the jobs of tomorrow
New technologies play an important role and allow the African continent to develop its various sectors of activity more rapidly. These technological advances are creating jobs and allow for the modernization of professions. Focus on the fields likely to experience a revival thanks to the professions of tomorrow.

If Africa has benefited less from the technological advances of previous industrial revolutions, the fourth industrial revolution, which began at the beginning of this century, could change the situation. The Covid-19 pandemic has indeed revealed the true potential of digital technology in Africa by disrupting the status quo and giving a boost to various technologies. For example, the successive lockdowns have sparked an unprecedented e-commerce growth in sub-Saharan Africa, which is expected to account for 5.2 percentof the continent's GDP by 2025. Before the pandemic, blockchain was already being used to verify property records in Kenya, while Ghana-based companies Farmerline and Agrocenta were using web and mobile technology to support farmers. Several factors place the sub-saharan region as a main stakeholder of the industry 4.. For example, the region has recently seen a massive expansion of mobile technology, with consumers moving directly from traditional development channels to digital services, particularly regarding banking related services.. Africa also has the youngest population in the world, a demographic dividend that can provide a significant competitive advantage. As Africa is positioning itself at the heart of this new technological revolution, here's a look at the transformative effects it will have on the continent's professional landscape.


Mobile technology has significantly improved the delivery of health services in several African countries. In 2016, Rwanda became the first country to integrate drones into its healthcare system, using autonomous aerial vehicles to deliver blood transfusions to remote areas. In 2014, the use of WhatsApp enabled an effective response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, allowing for the sharing of information, checking symptoms and communicating with quarantined patients.

Finally, AI and robotics are gradually beginning to be used in countries like Ethiopia, where it is enabling health professionals to correctly diagnose cervical cancer and other diseases.

While artificial intelligence and robotics could reduce or even replace human presence in some healthcare professions, they will also create new roles, such as expert robotic surgery specialists or healthcare data analysts, responsible for making sense of "Big Data" in this field.

Technology Governance

With innovation at the heart of the fourth industrial revolution, strengthening the capacity of government and institutions to support innovation and create a supportive business environment and regulations that are responsive to technological advances is critical to success. The provision of e-government services, for example, creates specific security needs - especially as cross-border data flows will increase dramatically in the coming years. Strengthening cybersecurity is therefore a major regulatory challenge. In this context, the job of Chief Data Officer (CDO), whose activity consists of defining a global strategy for the processing of a company's or institution's data, and the job of Information Systems Security Officer (ISSO), in charge of identifying risks and defining the information systems security policy, will become more essential than ever.

Research and Innovation

As one of the most important technologies of our time, artificial intelligence will advance Africa's innovation capacity and position it in a unique way. But for this to happen, it is essential to "train" the algorithms so that they work perfectly and are adapted to local uses and needs. This is where the deep learning experts comes in, ensuring that the artificial intelligence is properly trained, by providing it with "clean" and "consistent" data.

This increased need for expertise will require investments in research and innovation. The African continent now hosts more than 400 digital hubs in 93 cities, with more than 130 hubs opened since 2020. Three key hubs -Lagos, Nigeria; Nairobi, Kenya; and Cape Town, South Africa- have gained global recognition. In addition to deep learning experts, this development will create numerous job opportunities, particularly in the fields of fintech, online commerce and e-governance.

Agriculture of the future

New technologies will play an important role in the transformation of African food systems. Agriculture alone accounts for 60 percent of total employment in sub-Saharan Africa, and the food sector is expected to create more jobs than the rest of the economy between 2010 and 2025.  In addition, as incomes rise on the continent, increasing consumer demand for food and beverages will drive business-to-business growth in the field.

Currently, Ghana-based companies Farmerline and Agrocenta offer farmers mobile and web-based technologies for agricultural advice, weather information and financial tips. Zenvus, a Nigerian startup, measures and analyzes soil data to help farmers apply the right fertilizer and irrigate farms optimally.

Among the occupations that are becoming in high demand include software engineers (responsible for developing mobile apps, software, and websites), data analysts (who help make smarter decisions based on data collected from past and current agricultural efforts), or once again artificial intelligence (AI) specialists, whose role is to create software, machines, and applications that make farming easier and more profitable for farmers and agri-tech companies.