UNDP launches Playbook to increase fluency on emerging technologies for Africa’s development

The Playbook is the first in a series of four pathways on Africa leading the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR).

June 19, 2022
Africa Leading the 4th Industrial Revolution


20 June 2022, Nairobi - UNDP launched a Playbook on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) to guide Africa’s leadership in a rapidly evolving era driven by technologies and kickstart the process of Africa leading the global transformation in the way we live, work, produce and consume.

Themed “Shaping an inclusive transition into the 4th Industrial Revolution,” the Playbook is central to UNDP’s technology offer for Africa and aims to build fluency on commonly used terminologies and technologies of 4IR in a developmental context.

Presented during a hybrid launch event in Nairobi, Kenya, which gathered senior representatives from the United Nations, African Governments, civil society and the private sector, the Playbook aims to assure responsible adoption and use of technologies in addressing the everyday challenges of African citizens.

“Africa is already leading in some new technologies, such as mobile money. With this rapidly evolving sector there is a huge potential to steer the 4th Industrial Revolution to accelerate action towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union’s Agenda2063,” said UN Assistant-Secretary General and UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa Director Ahunna Eziakonwa during the online launch. “Building fluency and a common understanding of the technologies, their risks and new opportunities, can unlock the power of Africa’s innovativeness to lead in this century of technological acceleration. UNDP, as a trusted infomediary in this case, is proud to have invested in this much-needed resource, seeking to ensure no one is left behind.”

The Playbook is the first in a series of four pathways on Africa leading the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR). The other pathways will include a 4IR readiness assessment tool for countries to self-assess on the preparedness for this revolution; an online marketplace to increase access and reach of technological solutions; and a multi-stakeholder dialogue forum to re-imagine the current governance model by analyzing trends, challenges and prospects to mitigate risks emerging from the 4th Industrial Revolution.

While these technologies are enabling rapid societal transformation and creating new economic development opportunities, they also risk increasing an already existing digital divide. These technologies are straining political, economic and social systems around the world, rapidly accentuating already existing inequalities (digital and real-world), as their benefits and opportunities flow disproportionately to early adopters.

4IR can and should be used responsibly to address critical problems of poverty, climate change and even challenges related to governance such as transparency and accountability in public service delivery.

The Playbook will play a central role in building a level of fluency and understanding on key concepts, terminologies, the different technologies predominantly driving 4IR in a development context, and issues to consider including risks through practical use-cases. Improved knowledge of emerging technologies will scale up the use of 4IR innovations from an informed perspective, and in so doing, build resilience that can lead to increased access and inclusivity and foster the use of technological innovations as public goods.

The launch was addressed by Hon. Ibrahima Guimba-Saidou, Minister and Special Advisor to the President of the Republic of Niger and CEO of the National Agency for Information (ANSI); Nekesa Were, Director of Strategy, Afrilabs; Hon. Mohamed Rahman Swaray, Minister of Information and Communications, Sierra Leone; Hon. Neema Lugangira (MP), Member of Parliament, Tanzania, African Parliamentary Network on Internet Governance; and Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to the African Union and Head of the UN Office to the AU (UNOAU).


About Africa Leading the 4th Industrial Revolution (AL4IR)

Africa Leading the 4th Industrial Revolution (AL4IR) is the flagship initiative of the UNDP Resilience Hub for Africa. The initiative places at its centre, the responsible adoption and use of 4th Industrial Revolution technologies in building capable and resilient institutions in the African continent that accelerates the delivery of UNDP’s Africa Promise and stays true to the principle of leaving no one behind. AL4IR recognizes that in order for technologies to be inclusive, they must be viewed as a development tool and not as a technology tool.

About UNDP

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet. Learn more at undp.org or follow @UNDP.


For more information, contact:

Dida Connor
Partnership & Communications Specialist
The UNDP Resilience Hub for Africa  
E-mail: dida.connor@undp.org