Telecommunications infrastructure drive development- Simataa

By Hilary Mare

INVESTMENT in the telecommunications infrastructure opens opportunities for trade within the country and in the region, further enabling real time communication which is vital for development, Stanley Simataa, Minister of Information and Communication Technology has said.

Addressing delegates at the opening of the Southern Africa Telecommunications Association (SATA) Service and Network Operations Southern Africa (SNOSA) conference hosted by Telecom Namibia this week, Simataa noted that Namibia has invested greatly in telecommunications infrastructure and continue to upgrade and install new infrastructure where required to ensure the delivery of fixed and mobile services.

Acknowledging that the same can be said for other nations on the continent, and more specifically the SADC region, Simataa added that ICT is a crucial component in the delivery of various services such as the provision of health services and education.

“With a secure network and online presence, authorities can increase the provision of live-saving emergency services in remote areas, while an online presence allow citizens of the continent to be active global traders. Our geographical distances can present numerous challenges. Yet communication is simplified because of the provision of relevant and required modern technologies, products and services.

“ICT is probably the most fundamental tool we have at our disposal to further strengthen our grouping by facilitating communications, for the exchange of ideas and to strengthen bilateral as well as people to people relations between all SADC member countries,” the Minister said.

ITU, the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs), estimates that at the end of 2018, 51.2 percent of the global population, or 3.9 billion people, will be using the Internet.

“More investment is required from the public and private sectors to create a conducive environment to attract investments, and support technology and business innovation so that the digital revolution leaves no one offline.

“Alongside a multitude of local, national, and regional trends, the overarching global trend in mobile markets is toward broadband connectivity at steadily increasing speeds and of higher quality. At the same time, network quality is increasingly a point of differentiation between operators as the quality of the mobile broadband experience becomes more important to consumers. Your deliberations this week is bound to come up with long-term solutions for all SATA members,” the Minister added.

Conclusively, Simataa noted that while there is an earnest drive to develop respective economies in the region, countries must also not forget the new challenges brought about by advancements in ICTs.

“Cyber-criminals are getting more sophisticated and pose a threat to public and private enterprises, as well as individuals. Steps must be taken to improve our capacity in dealing with cyber-threats and cyber criminals or else they could cause irreparable damage to our economies and countries. We need to step up our capacity building to ensure that governments and law enforcement officials remain ahead of existing cyber threats while anticipating new threats.”