Namibia is ready to join the global internet governance community as Information Communications Technologies (ICT) can be key enablers of development across all pillars of sustainable development, Minister of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) Tjekero Tweya said while addressing the Namibia Internet Governance Forum (NamGIF) this week.
“The Namibian government has initiated the rollout of E-government platforms across strategic state sectors and departments.
"The government under the auspices of the Ministry of ICT has also started the review of ICT related laws and policies with the aim of installing appropriate legal frameworks towards achieving our national goals in respect of the digital realm,” he said.
He added that on top the Namibian government has and continues to invest heavily in ICT infrastructure, nationally regionally and locally.
NamGIF is a multi stakeholder’s platform consisting of government, development organisations the private sector and media organisations which aims to stimulate and enhance discussion around public policy related to the internet.
Tweya explained that despite the economic and fiscal hardship Namibia is currently experiencing, the state is busy putting computers in schools and youth and community centres around the country.
He further added that the Namibian government is committed to ensuring access to information and to that effect will be finalising the access to information and draft bill towards putting it on the parliamentary agenda as soon as possible.
The Resident Coordinator of United Nations in Namibia Kiki Ghebo reiterated that ten out of the 17 SDGs reference the need for information and access to information helps to enhance transparency and accountability by facilitating dialogue between decision–makers and the rest of the society.
“A well-governed internet is a critical ingredient to our shared goal is a quest to industrialise Namibia through the work of a healthy and educated people, a Namibia where the war against poverty is won, a Namibia where no one else feels left out. And in all countries, rich and poor people depend on the media as an important source of information. Media hold all to account by providing information, evidence and arguments for penitent dialogue and debate” Ghebo said.
She further added that the right of freedom of expression is dependent on universal access to information and the right to seek and receive information at will.
According to the International Telecommunication Union, Africa has the highest percentage of people offline at almost 75 percent, and internet penetration rates are at approximately 35 percent while all other continents are above that as compared to penetration rates of about 80 percent in Europe.