As members of the Namibian Presidency’s Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) advisory group, we pondered this as we deliberated as to how to design a country-led strategy to better enable 4IR technologies in the economy. It is imperative that such technologies enable business and contribute to the generation of GDP, job creation and competitiveness.
The Task Force was mandated to conduct a country readiness assessment to determine the state of Namibia's digital maturity and make recommendations toward enhanced policymaking and creating a legislative framework supporting 4IR technologies. As technology increasingly outpaces regulation, it is imperative that governments become more agile and more digital in approach. Strategic recommendations toward this objective have been designed to support the Government of Namibia to better support and pivot toward technology-driven industries.
Namibia’s national development strategy strives to overcome its geography as a small, commodity-driven economy on the periphery of the global economy. According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report (2019), Namibia ranks 122nd in the world in terms of market size. Harm de Blij argued in his book, The Power of Place, that economies have unequal distribution of natural resources and more importantly unequal availability of opportunity. Can Namibia embrace 4IR technologies and deepen its human capital base to overcome its comparative geographic disadvantage?
Three decades ago, strategy guru Michael Porter said “Ultimately, nations succeed in particular industries because their home environment is the most forward-looking, dynamic, and challenging.”