O Level Notes : Geography - Industry - The Quaternary industry

The quaternary sector is the knowledge based part of the economy which focuses on offering services such as information, technology generation and sharing.

This sector requires high degree of education and intelligence for experts to generate and operate advanced technologies. In developed countries such as United States of America, information technologies and computers are quaternary professions. Quaternary professionals therefore include:

  • Programmers
  • IT specialists
  • Technologists
  • Information sharing experts
  • Profession bloggers
  • Digital stockbrokers
  • Financial planners
  • Designers
  • Educators

It is an improved form of tertiary sector which includes technocrats. There is also the quinary sector. The Quinary sector differs from the Quaternary sector in that this sector includes those professionals referred to as "gold collar" professions. They provide services in interpreting existing or new ideas, evaluating new technology and creation of services. Research scientists and government officials form quinary sector. They make decisions which influence how vast societies work.

Professions making the quaternary industry


The different industrial sectors are shown in below.





Primary                Secondary                 Tertiary









Quatenary                    Quinary


 Industrial sectors

Generally, as countries industrialise and become more developed, they move away from the primary sector. They tend to focus more on tertiary sector including quaternary and quinary sector

Development stages model

The Quaternary Industry in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's quaternary industry has grown greatly. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has improved the generation and sharing of information. As a developing country, Zimbabwe’s quaternary industry plays a major role though its percentage contribution towards the country’s GDP is still low compared to the primary sector. This sector is facing severe problems in Zimbabwe. These problems include:

  • Training programmes for quaternary professionals are expensive.
  • Shortage of foreign currency.
  • Poor remuneration for quaternary professionals.
  • Lack of funding for technology developers.
  • Lack of incentives for developers.
  • Importation of old technology for the industry.
  • Unstable economic environment.



Here is whatwe have discussed in this topic

  • The service industry offers intangible products to consumers and enable other industries to function well.
  • Tourism involves travelling to see places of interest for leisure.
  • Tourism is affected by physical, human and socio-cultural factors.
  • Zimbabwe's tourism industry has faced challenges which include lack of foreign currency, economic meltdown, inflation and negative publicity.
  • USA, India, Australia and South Africa are some of the great contributors of tourists in Zimbabwe.
  • Quaternary industry  focuses  on  information  technology,  information generation and sharing.
  • Zimbabwe's quaternary industry has great potential despite facing severe challenges.



Definition of terms

Tourist: a person who visits an area of interest or resort for the purpose of leisure.

Tourism: the visiting of places of interest for leisure and pleasure.

Domestic tourism: it is the visiting of places of interest for pleasure and leisure within one's country of residence.

International tourism: it is the crossing of international boundaries to visit places of interest in other countries.

Mass Tourism: it is tourism that involves large numbers of tourists visiting the same areas at the same time under the same package.

Eco-tourism: it is the form of tourism that involves visiting natural environments not disturbed by human activities.

Leisure: any activity done by people during the time they are not at work to relax, refresh and rest.

Resort: an area offering facilities for tourists such as accommodation, food, bars, pools, golf courses and restaurants.

Service Industry: it is the sector or industry that produces and offers intangible products to clients.

Quaternary industry: it is the sector or industry which deals with processing, generation and sharing of information.