Ndalimpinga Iita WINDHOEK (Xinhua) -- Plans by the Namibian
government to ensure 100 percent population network coverage have bred optimism
for prosperity among the country’s rural dwellers—the technologically left
In a move to bridge the digital divide
between urban and rural Namibia, state parastatal Mobile Telecommunications
Limited (MTC), the country’s largest mobile services provider, will erect 524
new towers across the country as part of its 081Every1 project.
In a secluded village in Namibia’s
Oshana region, on a Tuesday afternoon, 23-year-old Selma Kaali lends an ear to
the radio hung on a tree trunk.
Like many rural inhabitants, radio is
her sole source of information. “Apart from radio, I hardly have access to new
information through other means as the network reception is poor here,” said
Even mobile phone communication, she
said, is limited to short message texting and phone calls “on a lucky day” if
villagers move to higher grounds to get signal.
“Poor network coverage keeps one
living in Stone Age—excluded from information on available opportunities,”
As Namibia moves to fulfill the global
target for inclusivity, through the project, according to Tim Ekandjo, chief
human capital and corporate affairs officer at MTC, with the erection of the
towers, Namibians will have access to quality networks, mobile connectivity and
“The 081Every1 project will be a
catalyst for change to accelerate the development of rural areas in the
country,” said Ekandjo.
Intrinsically, Kaali will be able to
use digital gadgets such as smartphones and access information about new
opportunities. “I also want to start a village online information platform
through which we share information on new opportunities,” she said.
Through technology and innovation, the
081Every1 project will further help change the way people live, work and
communicate, providing an important platform for sustainable growth and
development, according to Ekandjo.
Rural micro entrepreneurs in northern
Namibia are ecstatic about new towers, anticipating commercial profits.
Agatus Elago from Oshana region has
been running a village-based small business for over five years. According to
him, reliable network will translate into better proceeds for his mobile top-up
“The better the network, the more
people will communicate with their loved ones and deplete their credit,
leading to a demand for more airtime recharge vouchers. And I win,” said
In a remote area with limited power
source such as electricity, according to the rural entrepreneur, quality network
will further enable him to diversify business services.
“Without doubt, improved network
coverage at my village will mean people will be using their mobile phones
more frequently, and thus the batteries power won’t last as long. This leads
to a demand for phone charging services, a service I plan to offer at my
solar-powered shop. I am grasping that opportunity,” he said.
Known as the “airtime man” among the
villagers, Elago forecast to earn an additional income of 1,500 Namibian dollars
(129 U.S. dollars) per month.
Meanwhile, in preparation for business
services diversification, the rural entrepreneur is sourcing a variety of phone
Network expansion is further envisaged
to enable people across generations to explore digital technology. With the
older generation rejoicing at the news, seeing it as a privilege to finally
explore new digital platforms they only hear about.
“With the network coverage boost, my
grandchildren said that I can see my city-based daughter live when she calls
me through WhatsApp video call. It’s an exciting period,” said Kuku Shilongo,
The 1.2 billion Namibian dollars (102
million U.S. dollars) project was launched in July 2017, by then Deputy Minister
of Information, Communication and Technology, Stanley Simataa.
Over 40 local companies have been
contracted by MTC to complete the construction of the new towers.