The Namibian Government aims to create opportunities for Finnish ICT and education companies

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Advisor Southern Africa
Camilo Ramada
+2 784 683 1222
camilo.ramada@businessfinland.fi
The goal is to transform Namibia into a knowledge economy and upgrade its ICT infrastructure.
Namibia is investing heavily and proactively in improving its learning environment – giving particular attention to the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges.

Market size and growth rates

Namibia's GDP growth is projected to improve to 1.9% in 2018. With a high degree of political stability and sound macroeconomic management, the country boasts a favorable business environment.

As the global interest towards Namibia grows, there has been an increase among Finnish private sector entities in exploring business opportunities in the country. Finland and Namibia share a very special bond with deep roots dating back to missionary activities in the 19th century. Since then Finnish experts have worked alongside their Namibian counterparts in many fields. Today, the strong partnerships comprise a diverse range of cultural, economic and scientific co-operation.

What is change that has opened up opportunities?

Transforming Namibia into a knowledge economy and upgrading ICT infrastructure across the country are priorities of the current government. The government has also identified vocational education and training (VET) as a priority, and is planning to upgrade its vocational training centers. A Finnish ministerial delegation in October 2018 is expected to further strengthen the relationship between Namibia and Finland and open up new opportunities.​

Some facts:

  • Since independence, Namibia has made great progress in providing access to education to over 95% of the student-age population
  • More than 20% of teachers have no teaching qualifications
  • In 2015, 45% of Grade 5 students achieved proficiency in English; 63% of Grade 5 students achieved proficiency in Mathematics
  • By 2022, Namibia is aiming at having universal access to information, affordable technology infrastructure and tech-services 
  • By 2022, Namibia is aiming at doubling the total number of trainees enrolled at both private and public VET institutions, from 25.000 to 50.000
  • The Namibian government is supporting more than 60 teachers who are currently undergoing teacher training in Finland, at universities in Turku and East Finland
  • Through The Southern Africa Innovation Support (SAIS) program, two Namibian startups will be traveling to the SLUSH startup festival this year in Helsinki. 
​Opportunities for Finnish companies in the Namibian education and ICT Sector

Business Finland has identified several opportunities. These include:

  • Namibia has traditionally allocated significant budgets to education, and more recently also to vocational training. In spite of this, the country’s educational system has various shortcomings.
  • The quality of instruction is often unsatisfactory, especially in schools serving poor communities. Unappealing school environments make teaching and learning more difficult. In addition, inadequate learning and teaching materials at all levels of basic education affects education quality.
  • Namibia has recognized different e-solutions (e-business, e-learning, e-health and e-governance) as a critical success factor for transforming Namibia into a knowledge economy
  • In Namibia, Finland is known for good quality education and has potential in offering quality educational services. Many Finnish and Namibian educational institutions have a MoU in place.
  • Finland is the strongest international supporter of the Namibian innovation ecosystem, through academic collaboration as well as support for the local startup scene.
  • Education, ICT and other innovation areas, are excellent examples of where Finnish companies can do good business with Namibian partners. 
  • Namibian institutions, supported by Finnish centers of excellence, have developed home-grown Namibian innovations for the local market
  • Through the expansion of the fibre optic backbone network, Namibia is expanding broadband technologies and GRN network infrastructure in the country. It is also upgrading and constructing new FM and TV transmitter stations. 
Modern broadcasting services are expanding to all communities in order to promote e-services and innovation. Namibia considers Finland to be a very advanced nation in this regard. Finland is also known for good quality education and can be of assistance in developing Namibia's education system. Due to Finland's close ties with Namibia, local educational institutions are already co-operating with their Finnish counterparts. Finnish solutions are playing a role in improving efficiency and development of best practices. Many Finnish funding, financing and innovation programs, together with the Nordics, are collaborating and supporting Namibia. These efforts are resulting in a dynamic environment, growing opportunities, and commercially viable projects.

Next steps and upcoming activities

Minister Lintilä will lead a delegation to Namibia on 28-31 October. Half of the delegation will focus on Education and on ICT. Business Finland in Southern Africa is engaging with key stakeholders on private, public, funding and financing sectors to work with our companies in focus seminars, roundtables and B2B meetings. The target region of the delegation is Windhoek, where there is market interest and several identified counterparts. The purpose is also to understand available financing and partnering possibilities for projects.