TALLINN – Mariin Ratnik, deputy secretary general of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for foreign economy and development cooperation, who visited Windhoek, Namibia, from Sunday to Wednesday, said that opportunities for cooperation were sought with local officials to help Namibia develop a digital state.
Ratnik met with Jennely Matundu, deputy minister of international relations and cooperation, Emma Theofelus, deputy minister of information, communication and technology, Joseph Uapingene, mayor of Windhoek, and Sikongo Haihambo, executive director of the Ministry of Industrialization and Trade, with whom she discussed relations between the two countries as well as cooperation opportunities, spokespeople for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Meetings with Matundu, Theofelus, Uapingene and Haihambo focused mainly on getting an overview of Namibian IT companies and existing digital solutions, while cooperation opportunities were also discussed. In addition, Ratnik invited Namibian representatives to the e-Governance Conference in Tallinn in May, which focuses on digital innovation.
"Estonia has long-term experience in providing digital solutions that concern people's daily lives and bring the country closer to people, which we are happy to share with Namibia," Ratnik said.
Together with the Namibian deputy minister of information, communication and technology, Ratnik opened a seminar organized by the Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications. It took place within the framework of the AU-EU D4D Hub project focusing on digital development of the African Union and the European Union and focused on digital innovation. The workshop was conducted by Aktors, Bolt, Cybernetica, eKool, GoSwift, Rethink and was headed by Daniel Schaer, Estonian ambassador at large for economic cooperation with Africa.
In her speech at the beginning of the seminar, Ratnik gave an overview of the role of digital innovation in Estonia.
"We want to deepen bilateral cooperation and partnership to promote digital innovation and the green turn, as well as education," Ratnik said. "We have good examples and experience in this field."
According to Jana Silaskova, head of internationalization at the Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications, for companies, the visit is important for updating existing contacts and also for creating new ones both in the government sector, at the local government level and with local companies.
"Members of the association see great potential in Namibia, especially because it is a stable country, people are interested in Estonian solutions and support, and cooperation has already been done for several years, so a favorable ground for the future has already been created," she added.
Ratnik also gave an opening speech at a UN digital workshop, where she stressed the importance of digital services in small countries and Estonia's role in the development of international digital solutions. She added that the development of digital services is one of the UN's priorities, as it contributes to the reduction of unemployment and innovation.
From Wednesday to Saturday, Ratnik will be in Botswana, where she will meet with Minister of Transport and Communications Thulagano Merafe Segokgo, Minister of Foreign Affairs Lemogang Kwape, Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Mmusi Kgafela and permanent secretary of the Ministry of Education and Skills Development Miriam Maroba.