The Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board chief executive officer Nangula Uaandja said Namibia has seen numerous and significant MSME interventions; however, measuring the impact has been challenging.
Uaandja said this at the launch of the In4MSME app in Windhoek on Friday.
#In4MSME will serve as a directory enabling potential clients to search for products and services rendered by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) across the country at the touch of a button.
The NIPDB partnered with MTC to develop the app that will make information concerning opportunities for MSMEs accessible at no cost.
Uaandja said digital technologies and applications would, therefore, contribute to the economic growth, societal well-being and the effective governance of the Namibian MSME sector.
Uaandja said information is the cornerstone of efficient decision-making and that despite all the technological advancements that now facilitate the collection and storage of information, the slow adoption of data as a basis for MSME development interventions has had minimal impact.
“Therefore, the MSME App is developed to share and maintain reliable information for and about MSMEs in Namibia,” she said.
According to Uaandja, the tangible outcomes include a business support organisation directory, an MSME directory (a.k.a the MSME Yellow pages), an MSME portal and a national MSME App.
She further said while there may be numerous barriers to MSME growth, MTC, NUST and the NIPDB have joined forces to make access to information one less obstacle in the MSME ecosystem.
“It is commonly known that digitisation improves process efficiency, lowers transaction costs and enables better control of project execution for institutions and the beneficiaries of public services.
“The early adoption of digitisation in advanced countries has resulted in economic benefits that are 20% higher than in other countries,” Uaandja said.
NIPDB executive director responsible for MSME development, Dino Ballotti, said the world is moving towards a digital footprint through digitisation efforts.
Ballotti said the app was a first of its kind for a government in Africa.
“Our desktop research has not found a government application of MSMEs, and for MSMEs, again, this is an African innovation.
“We can work smarter, with certain search functions going a long way in creating an ease of doing business. Targeted support requires data, and with the support of all organs of government and private sector partners, we shall be leveraging this data to ensure MSMEs are connected and accessible,” Ballotti said.
Ballotti spoke about the need to know the differences between Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Startups.
“We need to know who is in the formal vs informal sector. We need to know the demography and make-up of Namibian businesses.
“We need to know who operates in Okakarara and where the gaps, opportunities and needs lie. We need to know which sectors are operating in all 14 regions, 52 local authorities and even the 121 constituencies. We no longer need to know someone to be connected to MSMEs in the country,” he said.