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Namibia: MPs Embrace ICT, Go Hi-Tech
Source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201210190649.html
Source Date: Friday, October 19, 2012
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: Namibia
Created: Oct 22, 2012

Parliamentarians will soon be reading their statements from tablets as they table motions before the National Assembly.

The move is part of the e-government programme implementation, which the Parliament Standing Committee on Information and Communication Technology is pursuing.

The Standing Committee on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has just returned from a study visit to the Republic of Estonia, north Europe, where it looked at how that country has progressed in the use of information and communication technology (ICT). The MPs, led by Dr Moses Amweelo, were very impressed by what they experienced, and recommended that if Namibia wants to succeed and become a digital society, "we need to upgrade ICT infrastructure and implement policies effectively".

"The country is even called E-Estonia with an e-society and the usage of internet and ICT is so high that most of the transactions such as banking, voting, medical health prescriptions and companies registrations are done at home and much faster. The Estonians are sure that their projects for E-Government framework development and portals are making significant contributions to the process of moving towards the information society," Amweelo briefed the media yesterday.

Estonia, a relatively small country that gained its independence in 1991, has successfully grown out of a partnership between a forward-thinking government, a proactive ICT sector and a switched-on tech-savvy population. Amweelo said Estonia has various e-services databases, both in the public and private sector, to link up and operate in harmony no matter what platform they use.

The committee found that Estonia is far and well advanced in terms of ICT usage and penetration.

The committee says there is a need to encourage and lobby for the introduction of paperless technologies and to co-ordinate the implementation of e-government principles.

These principles include e-governance, e-cabinet, e-parliament, e-health, e-election and e-voting, electronic identity cards, e-banking, e-school, cyber security, e-tax, e-business register and e-police, among others.

"Our MPs do not have to carry papers anymore. They need iPads," he explained. The e-services will be offered on top of the current ones free of charge to the society.

Namibia has always cherished the desire to fully implement the principle of a paperless system within the bureaucracy and revolutionise its information dissemination services. Instead of developing a single, all-encompassing central system, the committee says Namibia should create an open decentralised system that links together various services and databases.

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