Emilia Nghikembua: championing ICT growth through policy formulation

By Penda Jonas Hashoongo
July 2016
Women in Business

Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia’s (CRAN) Head of Legal Advice, Emilia Nghikembua, is one of the few women championing the reform of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector through sound creation and implementation of frameworks to ensure that it attains prosperity for all Namibians.

Speaking to Prime Focus Magazine this month, Nghikembua explains that the vital role she plays in the ICT sector is in line with the attainment of the country’s development goals.
“My job primarily focuses on the formulation of a regulatory framework that is not only reactive but also pro-active in supporting emerging trends in technology and sector reform. ICT plays a critical role in creating knowledge based economies and enhancing social economic development. I am thus motivated by the delight of being at the forefront of creating and implementing a framework that will ensure that all Namibians enjoy the full socio-economic benefits of ICTs,” she says while adding, “We need to gear ourselves to become a knowledge-based economy and aggressively focus on educating more Namibian children. We need to remove all artificial barriers to education, such as the fact that children need to pass grade 12 and go to University in order to pursue a career. We need to have more exits from formal education into vocational training and other pursuits. We also need to focus on research and development as well as innovation.”
While emerging as a proponent for education as a remedy for the sluggish development of the country in most sectors, including ICT, Nghikembua posits that traditional norms have, in some instances, played counter-productive roles in ensuring that every Namibian child has access to education.

“The issue comes with implementation and the clash between the right to education and some cultural values and norms, which still support the education of boys over girls. It is therefore, imperative that we engage parents to influence a mind-shift in utilizing the available initiatives to provide equal opportunities for all our children.”

With the aim of breaking the stranglehold of patriarchy over key sectors, Nghikembua advises other women to rise over social and cultural inhibitions to show that they too can play pivotal roles in the advancement of the country’s development agenda as well as men can, if not better.
“Corporate Namibia is dominated men; I am of the view that this is a caused by the fact that culturally, we subconsciously associate men with leadership qualities and women with nurturing qualities. In addition to these socially erected boundaries, we are also hindered by the barriers that exist within ourselves; we often hold ourselves back, not very sure, not very confident, and too afraid to raise the bar. We often lower our expectations and compromise our goals.  Amongst ourselves, we break each other down, when others do achieve, we are too ‘envious’ to cheer them on,” she says.
“We need to break the barriers and regain our power; we need to understand that we have better potential to lead than men; but that we will only realize that potential if we are confident, focused and supportive of each other. We need to remember, as Ban Ki Moon puts it “Educating girls and giving them the tools to shape their own future has an incredible multiplier effect on economic growth. It leads to increased prosperity not just for individuals but for their communities and their societies,” Nghikembua concludes.