Namibia moves to bridge digital gap

 The second national Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) summit which took place in October 2015 in Windhoek testified Namibia’s commitment to bridging the digital gap and creating a knowledge-based society.

The two-day summit which was held under the theme “Bridging the Digital Gap,” provided a national platform for stakeholders to reflect on ICT trends and challenges, both locally and across the globe. 

Officially opening the summit, the Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Honourable Tjekero Tweya committed to implementing effective legislation that provides easy access to ICTs with the aim of creating a knowledge-based society.

The summit highlighted that in order for Namibia to effectively reach the ICT objectives as stipulated in its National Development Plan 4 (NDP4), the Government should forge productive partnerships with the private stakeholders that will deliver innovative ICT outcomes. 

Over the years the Namibian government has made significant strides to integrate digital technology within the national development objectives.  One of NDP4’s desired outcomes is the improved delivery of public services through the use of information and communication technology.

The country is currently making strides to achieve e-Government. According to the e-Government Strategic Action Plan for Namibia, the overall e-Government readiness score for Namibia is at 2.2 out of 4 possible points.  This score rates the country as being of “Average” readiness.  The current state of readiness for e-government in Namibia was assessed in terms of policy, access, content, capability and willingness. 

The country still faces critical challenges in its efforts to close the digital divide.  Mr. Laban Hiwilepo from Telecom Namibia presented a vivid display of the disproportion between households with and those without access to basic ICT services such as mobile broadband and personal computers.

The second national ICT summit brought together various local and international stakeholders including the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT), UNESCO Windhoek Office, UNICEF, Telecom Namibia, Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTC), Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN), National Commission on Research, Science and Technology (NCRST), Juniper, XON systems. About 20 exhibitors also participated in the Summit and pledges were made to support the development Namibia’s ICT infrastructure.