Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

22 February 2013

Namibia: Biggest Elearning Conference Ever

Namibia will host the biggest eLearning Africa international conference for ICT for Development and Training from 29 to 31 May at the Safari Court and Conference Centre in Windhoek. The conference which is the 8th of its kind will be attended by about 2000 delegates and will have over 300 speakers and chairpersons from 50 countries deliberating on the latest developments and trends in eLearning.

The budget for the conference is N$5million, although organiser say that they do not expect to spend more than N$2.5million and that costs will be shared between the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology and the Minister of Education who are jointly hosting this event.

The overall theme for this years conference is tradition, change and innovation and it is the first of its kind to be hosted in southern Africa.

Speaking at the launch of the conference in the capital this week, Astrid Jaeger, Business Development Director at International Conference, Workshops and Exhibition in Berlin said that apart from hosting the largest eLearning conference ever, Namibia stands to gain a lot from this experience.

She said hosting the conference has a lot of short and long term benefits such as giving stakeholders the platform to put their feet in the ITC industry, it is also an opportunity to mobilise donors, it is a chance to build up cash flow and a chance to get investors for new and exiting local projects.

The Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Joel Kapanda said, as part of the conference, Namibia will host a Ministerial round table which will have panel discussions on Namibia's ICT in Education Policy and its implementation plan as well as the Universal Access and Service Policy for ICT's.

"This session will be attended by a number of Education and ICT Ministers across Africa amongst other experts," he said.

He further appealed to all stakeholders in the education and ICT sectors to take full advantage of what this conference will provide for instance the opportunity for participants to network in order to enhance ICTs in education and training in Africa as well as to develop multinational and cross industry contacts and partnerships.

The organisers expect the conference to draw thousands of visitors in addition to the official delegates. To make the event attractive to visitors, extensive exhibitions and demonstrations form part of the ancillary activities.

Dr Maggy Beukus-Amiss, the chairperson of the local organising committee said that Namibia should feel proud to be at the forefront to be able to showcase all its ICT projects and policies.

There is still an opportunity for institutions to provide abstracts that can be presented as concept papers at the conference since the deadline to submit concepts have been extended to 15 March.

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