Information Minister Peya Mushelenga said African governments need to innovate and invest more in the education and training of people in new technology to empower the African youth with soft skills and technology.
He said this at the Africa ICT Ministers Forum, tasked with, among others, to commit and affirm full support and implementation of the Windhoek+30 Declaration as adopted by the gathering of the 2021 World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2021, which highlight the relevance of information as a public good.
The declaration also contains recommendations related to the promotion of transparency and accountability in the digital age, regulatory approaches and social responsibility initiatives for media sustainability and survival in this digitalised world.
“The media is an important stakeholder in public education and information dissemination. Government should put in place laws and regulations that protect media freedom. Similarly, on its part, the media fraternity should perform their tasks with a sense of responsibility and objectivity,” stated Mushelenga.
He said to achieve this noble goal, as Africa ICT Ministers, they need to innovate and invest more in education and training people in new technology to empower the African youth with soft skills and technology; to create a pool of human capital willing to establish robust digital economies and competitive markets across Africa.
He said: “We ought to establish an enabling ecosystem that is designed to encourage and promote technological entrepreneurship and innovation across Africa that can tackle the abject poverty and other concomitant challenges bedevilling our continent.”
International relations minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said, “We need to ensure that our people appreciated the power of information in the area of development on one hand, as well as the destructive nature of information when poorly managed, for the sustainable development of our countries and the betterment of the livelihoods of our people to realise the AU Agenda 2063.”
She added that it is important for the public to use government information to make key decisions and also to give constructive criticism that would have positive undertakings on the general governance and development of the country.
“The benefits derived from the centrality of ICT to the new media age praxis helps fill the vital gaps in terms of public knowledge and information as well as the facilitation of conversations and debates about matters that affect the lives of the people in a given country,” said Nandi-Ndaitwah.