ICT Development a Top Govt Priority

The substantive development of information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure remains a priority for the government.

“ICT is an enabling and empowering technology that creates new opportunities for promoting sustainable development, alleviating poverty, achieving universal service and deepening democratic and good governance, among others,” said the Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Joel Kaapanda.

Kaapanda said Namibia’s national backbone network is fully digitalised forming the bedrock upon which 4GLTE mobile services were rolled out in 2012, reaching 95 percent of the Namibian population.

Speaking at the gala dinner last Thursday hosted by the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) in honour of International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Deputy Secretary General, Houlin Zhao, Kaapanda said national telecoms operators have been focusing on investing in national ICT infrastructure.

He noted that in broadcasting the need to migrate analogue broadcasting to digital broadcasting by 2015 requires urgent completion in order to ensure smooth migration.

He said the target investment in broadcasting infrastructure from own resources enabled Namibia to accelerate the process of DTT migration well ahead of many SADC countries, except Mauritius and Tanzania.

“To date Namibia has recorded 61 percent population coverage with digital broadcasting as compared to the ITU-GE06 migration target being 67 percent analogue coverage,” stated the information minister.

Kaapanda further said the development of ICT in Africa is central to regional development and integration. It is imperative Namibia accelerates initiatives that will help address that challenges of convergence and harmonisation of ICT infrastructure, services and indicators. Kaapanda said in addressing these challenges, the ITU is a valued partner to Namibia and has been an active proponent of ICT development globally and continentally through various projects and programmes, the most recent the Harmonisation of ICT Policies in Sub-Sahara Africa (HIPSSA) project, which kicked off in 2008 with the objective to discuss and draft humanised policies and legal and regulatory frameworks at the regional and continental levels.

“Through the HIPSSA project, Namibia was assisted by the ITU to develop a cyber security legal framework addressing electronic communications, cybercrime and data protection,” said the minister.

He said said he was encouraged by the focus the international community, including the ITU, is placing on this critical area of electronic communications.

“I am further reminded about the data security breaches and compromise in electronic communications security systems that quite often occur, making cyber security and data protection online a persistent challenge.”

He said a crucial area in the development of ICTs is ICT infrastructure development, connectivity and access to information.

“I recall a number of international connectivity initiatives that were undertaken in and around the African continent, such as the West African Cable System (WACS) SEACOM undersea cable SAT-3 and others,” he said.

Source : New Era