Nepal | November 13, 2019

Trade experts debate fourth industrial revolution

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 3

As the world has been witnessing the fourth industrial revolution, which is largely related with artificial intelligence and the internet of things, this progress could bring transformative changes in the economic development of the least developed countries (LDCs) if they are able to access advanced technologies.

The government and private sector have to enter into a partnership to bring the technologies based on their national demands, according to Ratnakar Adhikari, executive director of the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) – a mechanism established by World Trade Organisation and World Bank, among other multilateral agencies, to provide aid for trade to the LDCs.

“LDCs should develop skills and knowledge to utilise technologies that are beneficial for them,” said Adhikari. “Automation can be effective in improving governance and making work easier and faster.”

The LDCs should first be able to access such technology; and as far as affordability is concerned, the government also needs to provide tax incentives or refinancing facility to bring such technologies, as per Adhikari. “Along with this, appropriate regulatory framework is needed in application or use of the technology in terms of cyber security, privacy, among other issues.”

Speaking in the programme titled ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution: Opportunities and Challenges for Nepal’ organised by Society of Economic Journalists-Nepal (SEJON), Adhikari also spoke on flip side of rapid technological development – possible adverse impacts on jobs, which may increase outmigration of youth as industries and businesses start using sophisticated technologies, and could hit inflow of remittances.

Still, the silver lining is the informational technology-friendly new generation, according to Chandra Kumar Ghimire, secretary at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies.

Around 5,000 fresh IT graduates are entering the job market every year and they are familiar with the latest technologies and know how such technologies can be used to lower the cost and time in workplace, industries and businesses.

Hari Bhakta Sharma, president of Confederation of Nepalese Industries, said using fourth generation technology and innovation is a far-fetched notion for Nepal as it has yet to tap the potential of value addition of ICT industry that was offered by third generation industrial revolution. However, he said Nepal’s progress in service sector is due to third generation industrial revolution and there are prospects for benefits of mass production from technological advancement and improving the livelihood of Nepali people.

A version of this article appears in print on April 04, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.

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