Llewellyn le Hané
As the 5th National ICT Summit draws to a close, we can look back on an event that has grown and matured over the years. With stakeholders from all sectors, taking part and discussing ICT and how it can assist in propelling our great nation forward to growth and prosperity and affect real socio-economic change.
Minister of ICT Stanley Simataa, in his speech made it clear that he believes that only through collaboration with industry stakeholders can the ICT-Industry help develop Namibia. His vision and that of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) to develop a National Digital Strategy (NDS) is music to our ears as ICT professionals.
The ICT Summit’s theme this year was “Digital transformation for an ICT smart Namibia,” really brought home the impact that ICT can have and how it can change the fortunes of a country. As sponsors of this great annual event, we definitely know and believe in the power that technology wields and how it can be a force for good. Improving lives, economies and plugging Namibia into the global village as an equal digital partner. The NDS that the Minister envisions will provide a comprehensive roadmap that will guide Namibia’s digitisation agenda. We and undoubtably other industry partners will be there to aid the Ministry in achieving the NDS as in this case, failure is definitely not an option.
We cannot afford to ignore the need for innovation, implementation of ICT systems, creation of effective and efficient methods of improving our lives and the economy. As the Minister said; “We are not overburdened by legacy infrastructural issues. We have the ability to leapfrog some of the developed nations.” We can and must embrace the digitisation of Namibia, if we do embrace it we will see marked improvements, provided the necessary investments are made.
Improvements in service delivery, improvements in productivity, improved equality as access to ICT empowers people. Processes and procedures that used to take weeks can be streamlined and would only take minutes and be centralised.
The Summit was an opportunity not just to profile ourselves as industry-players, but to listen, learn and take steps to collaborate with other Namibian organisations as well as the Ministries and share best practises and case studies. The Namibian ICT-sector and its professionals must learn to work together and hone our skills and knowledge for the benefit of our economy.
We as Namibians give ourselves a hard time and are always looking across borders and thinking everyone else’s grass in greener. However, we as a nation have a Ministry of ICT and a Minister who takes this role very seriously, not something every other nation can boast. Government is prioritising technology in the broadest sense of the word and this Annual Summit is testament to the fact that we realise that we must develop our ICT-footprint if we want to develop as a nation. With the announcement of the National Digital Strategy at this year’s Summit I think the Government of Namibia and us as industry players have firmly committed to embracing and developing the role of ICT for the Digital Transformation of Namibia. Which is something that pleases me enormously.
*Llewellyn le Hané is a Director at Green Enterprise Solutions