Ms Ilse Karg – Chief Director: Future Industrial Production Technologies

Economic growth is widely acknowledged as a key driver of human development. Evidence based research suggests that economic growth could successfully increase quality of life and relieve people from poverty. The United Nations confirmed the importance and policy relevance of growth through the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With the emergence of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR), technologies and technological applications are rapidly evolving. Although there are many benefits and opportunities, innovations and new advancements especially in new technologies applicable to robotics, Internet of Things and artificial intelligence becomes the responsibility of all humans. According to the World Economic Forum, the capacity to offer African people greater opportunities and better living conditions will largely depend on how successful a country or region is at increasing competitiveness. What is the state of South Africa’s readiness and how could we capitalise on human potential to unlock sustainable economic growth?

Ilse Karg has a background in serving the National South African government for more than 30 years. Her experience has been mainly in the National Treasury, Public Finance. Prior to her appointment in the department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Ilse was responsible for public finance, programme/project financing and national budgets. Her scope of work also included legal work, governance and compliance as well as policy reviews and evaluation, dealing mostly with departments of Trade, Industry, Small Business, Economic Development, Science, Technology, Environment, Tourism, Science Councils and State Owned Companies.  In June 2017, Ilse was appointed in the Industrial Development division of the Department of Trade and Industry. In this role, she has been tasked to establish a new chief directorate, scope the Industry 4.0 and 4th Industrial revolution (4IR) work on national and international levels by establishing key stakeholder engagement forums. The main objectives include research in order to draft a Digital industrial policy and strategy in the context of the 4th Industrial Revolution, initiate and oversee relevant programmes and conceptualise and mange related 4IR projects, and build the necessary human resource capacity in the department. Her experience in corporate governance, public policy and strategic planning has earned her several appointments on Steering Committees and Boards. Ilse has been re-appointed recently by Cabinet as a council member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and she is an executive board director and Deputy Chair of the Intsimbi Future Production Technologies Initiative, a 4IR flagship programme governed by a successful partnership between the South African Government and Industry.   The focus areas of Ms. Karg’s current work at the dti are developing the South African Digital Industrial Policy and Strategy, building industrial capacity and skills for Industry 4.0, identify enabling technological change, knowledge diffusion and data governance, and promoting innovation and knowledge intensification in the South African manufacturing sector.