Namibia: Local Innovator's Device to Improve Rural Network Coverage

22 September 2020

Namibian born Joshua Nghaamwa has created a device that many people believe is as an information communication technology (ICT) solution for the African continent at large. The local innovator, who once made continental news in 2015 after creating a digital smart device that amplifies cellular coverage and Wi-Fi signals for areas with poor coverage, unveiled his creations at the ICT summit in Cape Town, South Africa.

According to Nghaamwa, his innovation dreams started at childhood and he noted that for it to become reality it required determination and focus for at least nine years.

Nghaamwa's digital smart box device is called Master Terminator, which he patented in 2012. The device has since been re-engineered into a portable device that can be used to increase mobile network connections and provide much-needed access to the internet.

Nghaamwa said he came up with this idea in 2010 when he had a problem doing his school assignments back home in the village where the network was very poor. "I patented it in 2012 with the Ministry of Trade and Industry. In 2015, I went to show this at Cape Town's International ICT Summit and Innovation Idea Competition, which was attended by 42 countries and 2 900 participants. This product came in as one of the top three for best innovation at the competition," said Nghaamwa.

He added that the overall aim of the digital smart box is to provide network coverage to connect unconnected rural public schools, health centres and individuals to foster socio-economic development via electromagnetic waves.

Nghaamwa's 4G compatible dish is designed to fit in a laptop bag and has a USB port that enables users to plug it in their modem, router or cellphone to charge and increase the internet connection speed. It is also a wireless device that supports Bluetooth and wireless (WI-FI) connectivity for up to 10 devices. Though it has a battery, it also employs a solar charger to ensure usability even in the most remote places.

"This device is aimed at bringing connectivity, at better speeds to the masses throughout Africa, and to give tourists and field workers the ability to communicate more effectively and conveniently," elaborated Nghaamwa.

After initially struggling with funding for the project, Nghaamwa eventually received a grant in 2015 from the National Commission on Research Science and Technology (NCRST). This enabled the project to take off and allowed Nghaamwa to meet with the engineers to further develop a prototype and transform the device into a fully furbished product.

The innovator said he is looking forward to putting Namibia on the map and to have access to a lab where such innovation are assembled and create job opportunities for people.

"As an African youth and Namibian born, I would like to create awareness amongst youth to follow their dreams and broadcast their innovations to create more platforms for growth within Africa and work towards realising the African Agenda 2063 goal of using ICTs for transformational development," Nghaamwa said.

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