Reflection on the Proliferation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Its Implications on Rural Areas in South Africa

  • Chauke KR Department of Public Administration, University of Limpopo, Turfloop Campus, South Africa
  • Mamokere J Research Administration & Development, University of Limpopo, Turfloop Campus, South Africa
  • Mabeba SJ Research Administration & Development, University of Limpopo, Turfloop Campus, South Africa
Keywords: Asymmetric Information Theory; Fourth Industrial Revolution; Rural Areas; Inequality; South Africa


The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is the fourth major industrial event since the 1980s. This event affected everyone and changed the world. It's a dilemma in a world where the wealthy are advancing but the poor are falling behind, especially in rural areas. In a third-world country with a rural majority, like South Africa, many black people will be disadvantaged by the 4IR. The 4IR has implications for people in rural areas. The rich make up the economy of the first world, whilst the third world is largely rural. Rural areas frequently lag in development. For instance, mobile phone coverage is patchy in many rural areas while being available in suburban and semi-suburban areas. The 4IR, which is technology-based, has socio-economic effects on those who live in rural areas. Rural communities are unable to function in a 4IR world, so they are not profiting from it. One of the implications of the 4IR is job loss and an increased unemployment rate due to a deficiency of necessary and potential technical skills. Thus, this article intends to explore the proliferation of the 4IR and its implications on rural areas in South Africa. To realize this, the authors employed a qualitative research approach in the form of a document review. The economics theory of Asymmetric Information (AI) was applied to support the argument and ground of this article. The AI theory was established by George Akerlof, Michael Spence, and Joseph Stiglitz in the 1970s. The AI theory enables those with information to make wise judgments while those without are at a constant disadvantage. In terms of participation, rural communities will be excluded, not through their fault, but due to technological advances. The study concludes by highlighting the implications of the 4IR in rural areas. One of the implications found in this article is increased inequality. Recommendation: To ensure that all citizens have access to information on an equal basis, it is necessary for the government and business to work toward restoring economic competitiveness and improving the quality of governance. The disclosure of information and increased openness on information can help to narrow the information gap that exists between those who are informed (urban) and those who are not informed (rural) residents.


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How to Cite
KR, C., J, M., & SJ, M. (2023). Reflection on the Proliferation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Its Implications on Rural Areas in South Africa. International Journal of Social Science Research and Review, 6(1), 214-226.