The Namibian government has emphasised its progress in its information and communications technology (ICT) rollout, and the benefits to citizens, as it advertised the country’s appeal to potential investors at the Invest in Namibia international conference in Windhoek last week.
Speaking at the Invest in Namibia conference, Minister of Information and Communication Technology (MICT), Tjekero Tweya, cited some of the progress in his presentation on ICT as a foundation for Namibia’s economic prosperity.
“The ICT sector of Namibia is still small, but rapidly growing. The last decade a series of legislative processes aimed at promoting ICT in Namibia were put in place, such as the Namibian Communication Act, 2009, the ICT policy 2009, the Postal Policy, New Licensing Framework and the DTT Policy.
“In today’s era, ICT is also used as a planning tool that directly influences areas upon which a country can build its economy. The sectors of ICT can, without a doubt generate significant growth and wealth in their own right,” Tweya said.
He also reminded investors that Namibia is one of only a handful of African countries - among them Rwanda, Tanzania and Malawi - that have completed the deployment of Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT).
“ICT is a crucial enabler for innovation, sustainable socio-economic development and a knowledge-based economy, as envisaged in Vision 2030. MICT is working tirelessly make sure that all Namibians have access to ICT. The ICT usage sub-index has shown improvements in ICT usage for individual, business and government usage.
“Namibia’s mobile phone network population coverage has increased exponentially to 95 percent since the 1990s, while subscriptions are recorded at 119,16 per hundred inhabitants. Namibia has successfully implemented the DTT migration from analogue to digital television,” the minister said.
Tweya continued to make the case for increased investment in ICT, along with a pledge that his ministry would focus on including more youth in all of its initiatives.
“Without innovation and development, we would not leverage or reach the full potential of ICT, to enable innovation and sustainable development. Key ingredients to innovation include scaled up investment, improved infrastructure, more investment in research and development, and improved intellectual property rights. “
Tweya’s sentiments echoed those of President Hage Geingob, who delivered the opening address at the start of the investment conference last Tuesday.
“The key drivers of economic growth in Africa are still there, despite the slower than average growth forecast. For example, the fact that population sizes are increasing, together with urbanisation trends and technology usage, means that there are still many opportunities for investment,” Geingob said.
The PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) 2016 Business and Investment Guide for Namibia, launched during the investment conference, noted the country’s growing focus on improving ICT.
The guide mentions countrywide broadband access, as well as the commissioning of a landing station, which will connect the country to the West Africa Cable System (WACS), among the “heavy” investments made into the modernisation and expansion of telecommunications infrastructure and service networks.
The 2016 Invest in Namibia conference was organised under the theme under ‘Promoting Investment for Inclusive Growth and Industrialisation’. -itwebafrica