The last two decades have experienced an explosive global growth of powerful digital technologies for communication, data acquisition, computation, artificial intelligence and unrestrained information broadcasting. Together they constitute a “digital revolution”. It is a revolution of historic significance that has invaded all parts of the human experience, with profound implications for citizens, societies, economies and for science, and which no society can ignore. It is the basis of the so-called 4th industrial revolution. A new scientific paradigm, of Open Science, has been enabled by the digital revolution. This Open Science has the potential to efficiently and effectively exploit these revolutions to the benefit of societies and economies. The African Science Granting Councils Initiative has commissioned a report entitled Open Science in Research and Innovation for Development in sub-Saharan Africa to explore this potential for Africa. It sets out: the basis of this revolution and its impacts, why Africa has no alternative but to respond to its challenges, and how it could most productively do so through a major Open Science initiative.