THE minister of information and communication technology, Joël Kaapanda, says the Universal Access and Service Policy emphasises capacity building and skills development relevant to the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector so that the country venture into production and development of ICT products instead of remaining a customer of ICT products.
An ICT forum convened by the ministry was established to foster partnerships among stakeholders to accelerate ICT development in the country.
Kaapanda said the ministry encourages investment in software development for different applications, and will thus cooperate with the Ministry of Trade and Industry to patent such ‘made in Namibia’ products, which he said would encourage local information technology experts to bring locally produced products in the market.
The ministry is also developing e-waste legislation to prevent environmental pollution by ICT equipment. Such legislation would direct how ICT equipment dealers should store their equipment and minimise emissions, and how to dispose of old and obsolete equipment.
Kaapanda said while the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (Cran) issues telecommunications and broadcast licences, it also has to implement the Universal Access Service Policy. It will thus direct and guide the ICT development to ensure inclusiveness in the country’s development efforts, Kaapanda added.
Namibia ranks fifth among Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries with the highest penetration of mobile telephony.
MTC has 600 000 customers using internet on a monthly basis; 70 000 use laptop or tablet computers.
About 70% of MTC customers download videos and send and receive email.
The mobile operator has allocated N$446 million between October 2012 and September 2013 to infrastructure and network development.