Simataa calls for ‘midwifing’ of innovations

Musa Zimunya

WINDHOEK, JUNE 27 – Food is an essential and whenever hungry, a person places their preferred choice in a pot of water or oil. But it is not over. There needs to be a catalyst in order to facilitate the cooking of that food – heat. Similarly, merely inviting innovators, young and old, without providing them a favourable ecosystem that can nurture their products, is akin to just placing the pot on a fireplace drenched in water.

Minister of Information and Communication Technology Stanley Simataa yesterday said it was not enough just to provide a platform for young innovators to showcase their innovations. He challenged industries to embrace innovations and provide support that secure that these innovations that are advanced by young innovators are “properly midwifed.”

He made the call during the 6th National ICT Summit sponsorship breakfast here in the capital Windhoek.

Elaborating on what he meant by “midwifed,” Simataa said: “It means you have the capacity, expertise, love, commitment, you have made the undertaking to ensure that whatever passes through your hands sees the life that it is intended to see.”

The minister appealed to industry professionals to create an ecosystem that was favourable to the development and nurturing of talent as opposed to one that constantly hinders and sometimes deflates aspirations.

“I am on record saying that we have a tendency to frustrate and not facilitate! Why should we stifle innovations by failing to build an ecosystem that will challenge our innovators? How do we build an industry when we continue to develop a setup that triggers the abortion of ideas? Clearly, the status-quo must change to enable Namibia to join the elite league of nations that are synonymous with technological advancements,” he said.

He said that key sectors such as agriculture and environment could benefit from innovations as the phenomenon of climate change was clearly evident, and could possibly be addressed by innovations.

“Subsequently, with the right ecosystem those innovations could end up morphing into thriving products and industry for that matter,” he said.

He added that products need support from national level first of all in order to carve their own identity in the world.

“We have a tendency to have unlimited appetite for whatever is produced outside the country. We don’t have high regard on what we toil to produce and yet we desire to build a thriving industry.” ~ Simataa

The minister challenged the entire country to migrate away from an over-reliance on foreign produced goods and services and to focus on developing local talent.

“When that truly happens, then there would be utility in blending young innovators in our summits. Otherwise, sincerely, it (ICT Summit) will be turned into a public relations exercise for young people – a trend that I pledge should not be allowed under our leadership in industry and in the nation!”

Namibia will host its 6th ICT Summit from 7 – 9 October in Windhoek under the theme : “Accelerating Digital Transformation in Namibia.” –