Industry 4.0 concepts within the sub-Saharan African SME manufacturing sector

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14 Citations (Scopus)


In developing nations, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the manufacturing sector do not or are slowly adopting industry 4.0 (I4.0) concepts, making them less competitive. Yet, they serve as the backbone of emerging economies, thus creating a performance gap between them and their international competitors. As a result, more efforts will be required to provide adequate tools for SMEs to implement I4.0, especially in emerging economies and Africa. This study tackles the disconnect in sub-Saharan African manufacturing SMEs through an empirical research approach using the focus group discussion method, which is the first to collect opinions, reinforcing the current literature on I4.0 technologies, prospects, and challenges to implementation. Our findings underpin six critical drawbacks for implementing I4.0 by manufacturing SMEs in emerging economies and proffer mitigation strategies to establish Sub-Saharan Africa as a competitive, innovation-driven manufacturing powerhouse at the centre of Industry 4.0 development and adoption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)846-855
Number of pages10
JournalProcedia Computer Science
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Event4th International Conference on Industry 4.0 and Smart Manufacturing, ISM 2022 - Linz, Austria
Duration: 2 Nov 20224 Nov 2022


  • Industry 4.0
  • emerging economies
  • manufacturing SMEs
  • sub-Saharan Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science


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