Namibia: Infrastructure Duplication Comes At High Cost

Chief Operations Officer at Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) Jochen Traut, is concerned with infrastructure sharing in Namibia.

He said there is a lot of duplication in infrastructure at a high cost. He noted that the second Harambee Prosperity Plan opens access to sharing.

According to Traut, driving economic growth will require the implementation of some basic policies. In this regard, he specifically pointed out infrastructure sharing which he said is a prerequisite to try and make the usage of data and internet affordable in Namibia.

Unpacking the fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) task force mission this week, he added that one of the problems facing Namibia is a high data price that needs to be checked in: "One of the highest costs of broadcasters, for example, is getting information from studios to the transmitter side and that is a high cost."

Traut continued that Namibia's economies of scale are very small, and with concern stating that there is no consumer protection law in Namibia in this regard, and that the Communications Act does not allow CRAN to interfe

re and protect consumers enough. "In order to take those new entrepreneurs that will emerge due to the introduction of 4IR forward, they need some protection and that will help a lot."

At the same occasion, Bank Windhoek Managing Director, Baronice Hans, said the key from the introduction of the 4IR is how to use the new technology to solve societal issues such as huge inequality gaps and using this opportunity to mitigate these gaps.

"The other thing, as an employer, that emerges is the changes that are coming to the labour force. We do need new skills and to transform them. This will help to position Namibia to be more competitive in terms of the skills we produce to take advantage of this great future," explained Hans.

Chairperson of the 4IR Task Force, Prof Anicia Peters said the focus is to assess tangible projects before submitting recommendations within 12 months. Peters indicated that the high graduate unemployment that Namibia is facing is "like sitting on gold, meaning you can quickly and easily upskill them through short courses and have them take these transition jobs, that is what Namibia should look at".

Another 4IR Task Force member, Dino Ballotti said there is a threat to national development plans, which is due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"These are the reasons why this task force was established. We will work tirelessly for these 12 months to see how we can reduce youth unemployment in the country by creating jobs," Ballotti pointed out. - mndjavera@nepc.com.na

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