WINDHOEK – Vice-President Nangolo Mbumba says the dawn of new technology and its positives also brought negative externalities.
These negatives include the proliferation of fake news, group hate speech and dissemination of pornographic materials, cybercrime and similar undesirable practices. Mbumba remarked in his speech read by Mines and Energy Minister Tom Alweendo at the opening of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Senior Ministers for ICT, Information, Meteorology and Transport meeting yesterday. He notes that the advent of these ground-shifting communication technologies and inventions, therefore, serve as a challenge for the region to ponder on the appropriate policy and regulatory response by SADC governments. These, he says, is the case as the implications of the wrong usage and application of these inventions can in some cases go directly against the acceptable norms and values within societies.
“In this regard, I am told that progress has been made through the SADC harmonise model laws on cyber security and the setting up of the computer incident response team. These are designed to build capacity within the region by establishing national computer incident response teams and to create more awareness via outreach programmes among our citizens on cyber security issues,” Mbumba notes.
On the transport sector in SADC, he says although much still needs to be done to harmonise the various transport modes, such as air, sea, roads and rail, he is pleased that the region has also registered some progress in this area. These successes include the regional revitalisation initiative pilot rail study project by the NEPAD Business Foundation, commenced with the execution of the North Corridor study in February 2017. This programme is of paramount importance, as it will help the region to correct the imbalanced burden of the 80 percent regional and usage versus the remaining small portion by rail. “We thus need to move rail friendly cargo away from road as the road trucks are accelerating the destruction of SADC’s road infrastructure,” he encourages.
Furthermore, he is hopeful that SADC member states will strategise on the development of a SADC railway revitalisation strategy that will help the region to industrialise.
The main objective of the meeting is to review the progress which was made, and identify the bottlenecks which are stifling SADC’s integration agenda for resolution.
Minister of Information and Communication Technology Stanley Simataa said the meeting of ministers is meant to assess progress made in implementing key decisions and recommendations flowing from previous meetings in these closely woven sectors. These sectors he says are critical drivers of the region’s developmental and regional integration agenda.