KAMPALA — The coronavirus pandemic has taken a severe toll on industries, health systems and lives since the outbreak began with doctors and scientists racing to find ways to tackle the contagion but technology experts say, “The Fourth Industrial Revolution gives us the tools we need to battle this global threat”.
Speaking at the 3rd session of the Kampala Geopolitics Conference with a panel conversation around: ‘Geopolitics of the Fourth industrial revolution’, “experts urged that 4IR has equipped the population with highly potent tools that we must harness to win this fight.”
Cryptocurrency lawyer Robert Kirunda noted that growing economies including Uganda need to figure out how to reap the economic dividend that the Fourth Industrial Revolution presents and immediately harness their capabilities.
“The nature of the challenges the world has been facing has changed and COVID-19 has clearly shown this”, he said.
Mr. Kirunda argued that as the world pushes for the 4IR, there gaps of the second and third revolutions in places like Africa that must be plugged for development to happen but he said that adoption of appropriate new technologies can as well be used as enablers to economic development.
“We are talking about technologies that require phones, but there are those who aren’t fortunate enough to have them. I am one of those who believe that rather than talking about these challenges, we should be looking at how to address them,” he said.
Mr. Kirunda aimed a major dig at African leaders—slamming them over failure to identify proper priorities despite having the resources.
“Uganda’s problem is not resources, Uganda’s problem is priorities. Education and training the younger generations on how to code and take advantage of the new technologies should be one of these priorities,” he noted, adding that:
“Many people have a misconception that the technologies will be here in the future say 2030 but these are already here.”
During social distancing and lockdown, the value of e-commerce truly emerged.
On the other hand, the analogue world – hotels, restaurants, airlines, billboards, shopping malls – have been hardest hit during this pandemic.
Speaking in Lira on Wednesday, President Museveni said: “We are surviving through this pandemic because of technology”.
Alice Namuli Blazevic an expert in commercial transactions, infrastructure finance, PPPs and the energy sector urged regional countries to pay more attention and build enough capacity to handle the increasing cases of cyber related crimes.
She said the countries need to build capacities with these new technologies — reasoning that lack of enforcement comes because the enforcers aren’t aware of what they have to enforce.
“When faced with cybercrime, and you report to the police, most of the security operatives have no idea what that is all about. Some judges also have limited information on cyber-related crimes.”
The Deputy Inspector General of Police, Brig. Muzeeyi Sabiiti last year asked the Chinese government to help the Uganda Police Force (UPF) acquire the latest technologies to fight cyber-fraud.
He told the Chinese ambassador Zheng Zhuqiang that the Force is facing challenges of curbing cross-border crime such as bank and Mobile Money, terrorism, motor vehicle and drug smuggling.