Digital transformation to open up new opportunities

By Confidente Reporter

SPEAKING on the final day of the 6th ICT Summit in Windhoek yesterday, Information and Communication Technology Deputy Minister Engelbrecht Nawatiseb said the occasion was testament to the recognition by the government of the central role of the youth in the development of the country and the future prosperity of the nation.

“All policies, strategies, discussions and presentations held at this Summit and other platforms about digital transformation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution may ultimately prove to be futile if they fail to prepare the youth to understand and successfully live in the drastically changed economy that these developments are promised to bring about.

He said: “It is imperative that the majority, if not all, of the youth in our country understand the content and the context of the new economy and way of life that the digital transformation is bringing about.”

“The times we live in have forced everyone to become a student. No one has the full grasp of the impacts of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

However experts warn us that it is a revolution that will fundamentally change the way in which we live, work, deliver services and even the way we relate to one another.

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“As we have learned yesterday, digital transformation is the application of ICT concepts and tools to all the aspects of our lives. It will impact everything from government, business, education, healthcare, employment and how individuals live their daily lives.

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He remarked that in order to prepare the youth to live in a digitally transformed Namibia and beyond, it is important that we ask ourselves some tough questions and seek answers to them.

“Some of the questions we must ask include: What will digital transformation mean for Namibia? How will the 4th Industrial Revolution impact the youth employment dynamics in Namibia? What jobs and opportunities will be unlocked? What skills will the youth need to develop in order to survive and thrive in a “Smart Namibia”? What challenges will we face on the road to this transformation?

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“No one expert or institution has all the answers to these and other complex questions… It is for this reason that at the ICT Summit last year the ministry announced that it would set in motion the process of developing a National Digital Strategy in partnership its stakeholders.

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“The National Digital Strategy is intended to provide a comprehensive road map that will guide the country’s digitization agenda and help us to answer some of the complex questions… the process of developing this strategy has been started and it is at an advanced stage.”

The summit included panel discussions, presentations and discussions on matters related to youth tech entrepreneurship, innovations and other challenges and opportunities that Namibian youth face in the journey towards digital transformation. Some will showcase their products and concepts.

“We know that Namibia is confronted by a bulging sea of unemployed youth. The digital world may offer new entrepreneurial and employment opportunities.

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What needs to be done is to maximise the emergence of new job opportunities by establishing policies and financial support regimes that will inspire young people to fully exploit their entrepreneurial and innovative potential.”