By Hilary Mare
THE role played by ICTs in supporting economic development is vital. In addition to supporting productivity and innovation across sectors, ICTs are also critical enablers of trade development itself as they help correct, improve and make more relevant the very processes with which trade is conducted.
Such technologies are a tool that extends beyond basic infrastructure elements and builds an additional layer on top of the physical infrastructure that provides end-to-end transactional services aimed at supporting economic development through simplifying, hosting and integrating activities at multi-sectoral levels, thus, electronically smoothing and coordinating global supply chains between a wide range of services and products on the one hand and a broad market on the other hand.
It is under this pretext that the involvement of the Government and extended effort in building ICTs in 2017, will be a key element in accelerating growth nationally and possibly launching a clearer path into the NDP5 transition.
Next year will be the year that solid ICT plans to guide investors and other stakeholders need to be developed, with the pressure on Government to have a clear vision and understanding of the benefits of ICT for citizens, the economy and social integration.
Essentially, Government needs a realistic roadmap on how ICT infrastructure needs to be deployed. And there is also a clear need for Government to collaborate with the experts on the industry.
The release of spectrum, reframing of existing spectrum, facilitating public–private partnerships, creating Internet demand and dealing with power supply challenges are some of the immediate actions that Government needs to harness in the coming year if rewards are to be harvested.
Extensively, Namibia needs to leverage from the expertise and achievement factors of other countries in the region, with regional collaboration as a key enabler to influencing the extent to which economic growth would be driven by ICTs in the creation of a knowledge based Namibia.
It is also worth noting that political will and collaboration between the relevant stakeholders has been the key driving forces behind the success of the increased connectivity reach in some countries such as Rwanda, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Namibia may stand to benefit from applying similar collaborative measures.
We also have to realise that ICT accessibility and affordability has increased exponentially. As a result, opportunities for utilising ICT solutions for e-services and for reaching all groups of society, including the poor, users in remote areas, and other disadvantaged groups, have transformed the landscape for development. Conclusively at a time of slowed growth and continued volatility, many countries are looking for policies that will stimulate growth and create new jobs, information communications technology (ICT) is not only one of the fastest growing industries – directly creating thousands of jobs –it is also an important enabler of innovation and development.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015