A USAID initiative to support telecommunications legislative reform in Namibia has stimulated the formation of an ICT Alliance that has begun to make its mark on sector policy.
The USAID/Namibia Mission, assisted by the USAID/RCSA funded Southern African Development Community Information Policy Regulation Support Project (SIPRS) policy & regulatory team of Brian Goulden and Riley Allen (Internews Network), supported the new Namibian Communications Commission with a three-day workshop on current and future trends in ICT. The workshop took place 10-13 February 2003.
The audience, consisting of over 70 representatives of government, academia and civil society, heard from a range of speakers address issues vital to development of the ICT sector in Namibia. These speakers included Dale Hatfield, formerly Federal Communications Commission Chief of Technology and Administrator of National Telephone Information Administration, and Marlee Norton, International Vice President of the National Telecommunications Cooperatives Association.
The workshop participants were so convinced of the need for ongoing dialogue on ICT policies that an ICT Alliance was formed before the end of the workshop. Initially spurred on by SchoolsNet and the University of Namibia, the Alliance has gained the support of both the government-owned national fixed-line operator and the national cellular service-provider (partially owned by a Swedish corporation).
The objectives of the Alliance include:
Harmonize various ICT interest groups
Help identify and clarify ICT needs in Namibia
Recommend quality and service standards for ICT
Match appropriate stakeholders to beneficiaries
Develop and propose models and mechanisms which can provide self sustaining Universal Access in Namibia
Establish and propose priorities for development of ICT in Namibia
Raise awareness and promotion of ICT in Namibia
To be an ICT "Think Tank" for Namibia
Offer input towards policies for Universal Access
Promote open standards for access and content delivery
Improve national ICT skills
The Alliance steering group meets weekly. The second full meeting of all members took place in early June 2003. A charter has been developed and funding proposals are being formulated. The Alliance's blend of government agencies, operators and service-providers, and organizations representing a wide range of consumer interests is unique in Africa. The Alliance already has taken steps to show it will be a positive force for development of the ICT sector in Namibia.
Internews was awarded the dot-GOV Leader Award No. GDG-A-00-01-00009-00 on 21 September, 2001.
For more information
CONTACT Brian Goulden, SIPRS Project Leader
Tel: +267 3974342 or +267 71308880
Core funding for the DOT-COM Alliance is provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Bureau for Economic Growth, Agriculture & Trade, Office of Energy and Information Technology (EGAT/EIT/IT), Office of Human Capacity Development: Basic Education Team (EGAT/HCD), and Office of Women in Development (EGAT/WID), under the terms of Award numbers: GDG-A-00-01-00009-00, dot-GOV; GDG-A-00-01-00014-00, dot-ORG; GDG-A-00-01-00011-00, dot-EDU.