By Justicia Shipena
As more services become available online, President Hage Geingob says that African nations cannot afford to be left behind.
Geingob said this while attending a session on Digital Connectivity Empowering the Next Generation of Inclusive Ggrowth at the U.S-Africa leaders summit in Washington DC from the 13-15 December.
According to him, digital connectivity for developing nations is among the most critical aspects for digital inclusion, bridging the digital divide for African nations, and digital markets towards equitable and inclusive development.
The president said digital connectivity proved to be an essential prerequisite for developing nations when the Covid-19 pandemic forced the entire world to adapt and rely on digital connectivity.
“The pandemic exposed the digital divide and necessitated African governments to take a more targeted response to leveraging and intensifying public investments into soft and hard infrastructure to enable digital services, especially in the education sector,” he said.
The head of state added that Africa is acutely aware of the need to harness digital solutions to increase productivity, drive development and ensure the overall welfare of citizens.
These solutions, Geingob said, must provide the necessary tools and platforms to empower the next generation, and must be inclusive of all.
The African Union (AU) agenda 2063 spells out explicitly how to achieve that single digital market of over 400 million Africans through robust e-commerce infrastructure for both formal and informal markets, conducive policies, skills, affordable and reliable ICT services, and venture capital to tech startups and innovators.
Last year, Geingob appointed a Fourth Industrial Revolution task force to conduct Namibia’s first 4IR readiness assessment and inform policy and legislative reforms. “Indeed, Namibia is positioning itself as a green hydrogen hub and digital connectivity is very much a crucial enabler of this new green hydrogen economy,” he added.
Geingob expressed that for digital connectivity to empower the next generation, it must reach everyone, adding that young Africans are more integrated and connected than ever before. “Without digital skills, the necessary infrastructure, and enabling policies, inequities will remain defining limitations for a vast majority of Africans,” he pointed out.
He further said the digital economy and a green future will require a shared continental vision to inform a holistic and integrated strategy with enduring partnerships.