Logistics-centred economy, Jamaica’s response to the Fourth Industrial Revolution
I FIRMLY believe that logistics matter. I would go one step further and say that I believe that Jamaica’s move to transform its economy into a logistics-centred one is a clear response to the challenges and opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Why do I think so?
Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, explains the Fourth Industrial Revolution in this way:
The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanise production. The Second used electric power to create mass production. The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production. Now a Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. It is characterised by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.
If I had to boil the Fourth Industrial Revolution down to its basics, I would say it consists of three things:
1. Connectivity: Connectivity in the Fourth Industrial Revolution is about relationships. That is to say, the relationships “between people-people, people-things, and thingsthings.” (Forbes)
2. Flows: Flows are movement of goods, services, people, data, and money that characterise global commerce. “This isn’t complicated,” as Tom Friedman, who wrote in his book, Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations, puts it: “The most educated people who plug into the most flows and enjoy the best governance and infrastructure win.”
3. Management of connectivity and flows: The management of connectivity and flows is where I get the most exicited as this is where the glue of global trade – logistics – plays its part in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Competitiveness in our globalised world is increasingly based on one’s ability to understand, connect, and manoeuvre within and among the various networks that make the world work. The Logistics Performance Index 2014 put it succinctly: “Improving logistics performance is at the core of the economic growth and competitiveness agenda.”
Therefore, Jamaica’s Global Logistics Hub Initiative is Jamaica’s response for building a competitive, resilient, and sustainable nation in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
In Part Two, we explore one skill that is as ancient as humanity that is unexpectedly preparing students for the 21st century and the future of work in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.