Monthly Archives: February, 2016

Dr Alvaro Sobrinho on the Fourth Industrial Revolution

In a recent piece written by the African businessman and philanthropist, Alvaro Sobrinho set out his vision of the fourth industrial revolution. This revolution, he explains, will be characterised by the ability of machines to interact and respond to the environment they are in. Machines such as driverless cars, smart robots and 3D printing technologies will distinguish this particular industrial epoch.

Sobrinho, a fervent advocate of technological innovation and scientific development expressed his enthusiasm for the fourth industrial revolution, claiming that is will have “the seismic effect that steam power, electricity and digital technology had in earlier centuries.”

Dr Sobrinho is especially interested in what the fourth industrial revolution will mean for Africa. He understands that the changes offer both tremendous opportunities and possible challenges.

The opportunities are clear: the introduction of revolutionary technologies could offer huge potential for improving industry and generating wealth across the African continent. On the other hand, Dr Sobrinho recognises that such technologies, when first introduced, have a tendency to disrupt existing labour markets.

The introduction of high-tech robotics could wipe out countless jobs across Africa, concedes Sobrinho, as the continents economy is largely based on low-skilled labour of the kind most easily replicated by robots.

Ultimately, Alvaro Sobrinho concludes that the fourth industrial revolution will be positive for Africa. However, he emphasises the need to reorient the labour market by increasing and improving the education given to Africans. In particular, Sobrinho advocates a focus on science and technology in African schools and universities in order to adequately prepare African students for the demands of the job market that they will find: “We need to work fast to equip our people with high-level scientific and technical competences.”

Dr Alvaro Sobrinho finished his article with a call-to-action, asking “private sector companies operating across the continent to work with African governments, universities and the broader civil society to enhance scientific research, train STEM graduates, and encourage the development of soft skills in local labour forces.”

PEI and Alvaro Sobrinho launch new STEP program in Mauritius

The Planet Earth Institute (PEI) Foundation, an internationally recognised NGO and charity with a focus on expanding the study of science in Africa is launching a new interactive study scheme in Mauritian schools.

The Science and Technology Enrolment Program (STEP) will allow students to meet with experts in various fields and understand more about the potential careers available to them as part of a drive to encourage and promote the study of science and technology in Mauritian educational establishments and strengthen connections with global institutions.

On February 29th at Le Bocage, a leading international school, HE President Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim and Dr Aman Mauloo – Director of the Ragiv Gandhi Science Centre, will open the inaugural STEP day. Following this and the subsequent working groups there will be at least an additional 5 days at various schools across Mauritius.

These thought provoking sessions will be complemented by a variety of workshops, field trips and visits from some of the leading individuals and institutions from across the world encouraging students to learn and be inspired by some of the latest scientific and technological innovations.

The Chairman of the PEI, Dr Alvaro Sobrinho is passionate about encouraging the study of the sciences in Africa ‘If we want to ensure that sustainable development is a reality for all, we must equip our younger generations with scientific and technological skills, and encourage them to pursue related careers. I believe that STEP will form a valuable part of the PEI’s efforts to spur scientific and technological advancement on the continent’.

For further information please contact Katy Hulands at the PEI at www.planetearthinstitute.org.uk