Second ICT summit sets target to bridge digital divide

The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology announced last week that the 2nd National ICT summit will take place at the beginning of October under the umbrella theme “Bridging the Digital Gap.”

This year’s ICT summit is scheduled for 06 and 07 October at the Windhoek Country Club resort. While the ministry is still finalising presenters and topics, people in the ICT industry can still contact the organisers to register to attend.
This summit, as has been the case in the past, brings together all industry stakeholders, including government employees, private businesses, professionals, consumers and academia, to reflect on ICT trends and challenges facing the industry in general, but also the local ICT scene in particular.
Honourable Stanley Simataa, Deputy Minister of ICT officially launched the summit at the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in Windhoek last week, urging all prospective sponsors, contributors and participants to contact the Organising Committee to be part of the of the initiative.
Simataa emphasised that the cultivation of ICT enabling technologies is needed to enable all citizens and the economy to exploit the benefits of broadband internet.
The deputry minister said the inclusiveness of enabling technologies will also be on the agenda as access to financial services such as banking is enabled by technology, but he hinted at the difficulty of ICT developers to access this specialised field when he said banks jealously guard their platforms and applications through a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications.
“If you want to kill innovation infuse bureaucracy,” Simataa said referring to the ability of the summit’s stakeholders such as the National Commission for Research, Science and Technology to drive development through innovation. The deputy minister added that innovation should be left to follow its logical path without bureaucracy standing in the way.
Senior Advisor at the International University of Management, Prof. Monish Gunawardana speaking at the announcement of the 2nd ICT summit, said that technologies in bridging the digital gap in Namibia are available but are not widely used.
“The summit is an opportune platform that will bring together strategic stakeholders to forge partnerships that will deliver innovative ICT outcomes to consolidate good governance and the provision of much needed ICT services throughout the country” he said.
Telecom Namibia, Schoemans, International Business Machines Corporation subsidiary Green Sigma, the National Commission of Research, Science and Technology, XON Systems and Juniper have all pledged N$95,000 as part of a platinum partner package.
Additionally, the summit will define the roadmap for the development and effective integration of technology, as well as clarify the agenda for improved ICT sector competitiveness.
The summit also intends to strengthen the interface between the role of government and major players in the ICT sector through the sharing of information, particularly on the latest trends in technology.
Simataa said ICT is a vital tool in achieving the government’s main national priorities of economic growth inclusive of the primary objectives, poverty eradication and shared prosperity for all Namibians. “As a government, we are duty-bound to ensure the creation of an enabling ICT environment which can contribute more effectively to improve peoples’ lives in the workplace, in their homes, and their communities. We must find creative ways and means to use technology and to give citizens a greater voice in demanding the requisite services and also in holding their representatives accountable.”