Industry

MICT identifies various issues hampering ICT sector

Summary

Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Peya Mushelenga, has said the Fifth National Development Plan (NDP5) has identified a number of issues hampering progress in Namibia’s ICT sector.These include a lack of current ICT infrastructure i…

Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Peya Mushelenga, has said the Fifth National Development Plan (NDP5) has identified a number of issues hampering progress in Namibia’s ICT sector.

These include a lack of current ICT infrastructure in rural areas; a lack of understanding of the importance of ICT resulting in inadequate resource provision; and a lack of utilisation of available ICT capability, Mushelenga said on Thursday during the second national education conference.

Other issues identified are limited internet access at public facilities in rural areas, insufficient electricity in rural areas and low-capacity and expensive telecommunication networks.

The minister said the government has so far added sound and responsive ICT legislation and a regulatory framework, while also introducing 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) technologies, along with heavily investing in the modernisation and expansion of its telecommunication infrastructure, particularly in urban areas and which will now target rural areas.

“Namibia is connected to the West Africa Cable System and has established Internet Exchange Point (IXP) and rural ICT centres in all 14 regions, which will bring ICT services closer to the most remote communities,” he said.

Mushelenga stated that 95 per cent of Namibians have access to 2G networks, 89 per cent have access to 3G networks, 79 per cent have access to 4G networks, and 90 per cent have access to broadband.

“MICT is currently drafting and reviewing the following legislation and policies to accelerate ICT access and innovation – the Cybercrime Bill; Data Protection Bill; Access to Information Bill; Communications Act Amendment; Review of ICT Policies and consolidation into a National ICT Policy,” he said.

He also discussed MICT’s role in accelerating innovation and access to ICT, stating that ICT is a multi-sectoral development enabler, and saying ICTs are cross-cutting and play critical roles in the advancement of other fields.

“The ministry is currently working on digital literacy which includes multi-stakeholder collaboration to increase digital literacy in Namibia and basic ICT training for communities through multi-purpose community centres, but it should be noted that actors such as banks and financial service providers, political parties, agribusinesses, mining industry, tourism and leisure enterprises are all equally responsible,” he said.

The second national education conference is taking place in Windhoek under the theme ‘Transforming education towards inclusion and quality in the context of global challenges’ and ends Friday.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency