The accelerated and widespread expansion of digital technologies across business and society has resulted in the emergence of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), also known as Industry 4.0 (I4.0). While the 4IR describes a technologically-driven paradigm change that affects all spheres of life, Industry 4.0 represents the economic point of view, focusing on industry, manufacturing and the fact that major technological advancements are revolutionizing industrial production. Industry 4.0 will affect all sectors and disciplines, bringing about a structural transformation in the global economy and leading to a new division of labour, which will have a huge impact on developing countries. Current production systems, and global value chains, will become more dynamic, flexible, efficient and sustainable, with high possibilities for customization and personalization. Industry 4.0 has the potential to contribute to increased resource efficiency and help to achieve environmental sustainability.

These benefits will not be without challenges. Rapid technological advancements will affect future patterns of productivity, competitiveness and employment. They will exert a strong influence on education and skill requirements as well as income distribution, and they will also play a role in determining the evolving international economic division of labour, inter alia through their impact on global value chains and thus the future position of developing countries and least developed countries (LDCs) in the global economy. The biggest concern will be the impact new, digital technologies will have on jobs in developing countries, especially LDCs, since increasing automation of production processes and the displacement of workers by machines is likely to eliminate routine jobs. This will likely result in the polarization of the labour market. Despite inevitable job losses, developing countries and LDCs can find their niche, adapt and leapfrog.

This training course has been designed to provide a strong foundation on the basics of Industry 4.0 and the 4IR. The online training consists of six modules, and aims to demonstrate the implications for developing countries, particularly LDCs, outline related challenges and elaborate on how opportunities that Industry 4.0 provides can be leveraged. The training modules have been designed in such a way that governance, institutions, policymakers, SMEs and individuals can benefit from the content. The course can be taken by anyone that is willing to learn about new technologies, no advanced knowledge is required.


Module 1: Context of Industry 4.0

Module 1 will introduce Industry 4.0, examining it from a historical perspective and outlining megatrends and key concepts for Industry 4.0. Further, it will outline the relevance of Industry 4.0 for development efforts and the role of UNIDO, and the different responses to Industry 4.0 in terms of policies and other initiatives.

Module 2: Important Elements of Industry 4.0

Module 2 will give an in depth explanation of emerging new technologies and their impact. Sectorial applications of these technologies will be explained in different contexts, from the automotive industry, to the agriculture and energy sectors. The sector that will be most impacted by Industry 4.0 will be discussed.

Module 3: The Business Perspective

Module 3 will discuss how business models will need to be adjusted in order to keep running. It looks at concepts such as smart factory, and more detailed business aspects such as the implications of Industry 4.0 for production, trade and integration into global value chains (GVCs). This module will also deepen the strategies for competing in Industry 4.0, whether this is for a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) or a large company. A number of trends that are emerging as a result of Industry 4.0 will also be presented.

Module 4: Implications of Industry 4.0

Module 4 will analyze the implications that Industry 4.0 will have on people (work and employment), education and skills, and policy and government. Furthermore, it will discuss how societies will change and how governments foresee this change under the scope of new technologies of the 4th Industrial Revolution. Subjects such as distribution of wealth, automization in developing countries and automization in the public sector will also be presented to understand how leapfrogging is happening and the readiness to deploy industry 4.0 in a holistic way for societies and industries.

Module 5: The developing Country

In Module 5, the challenges that Industry 4.0 represents will be presented. However, it will also present the leapfrogging opportunities for businesses. Examples of the application of Industry 4.0 technologies in different industries in developing countries will be given, as well as a discussion on how UNIDO can play a critical role on this path.

Module 6: The way forward

To close the training, Module 6 consider the actions needed for developing countries to take advantage of Industry 4.0 and how development efforts aligned with technologies that Industry 4.0 bring can benefit developing countries. Finally, the module will conclude with road maps to Industry 4.0 and how proper innovation systems can drive to this new revolution.