Remarks by the DCM to open TechCamp Namibia

U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission giving remarks at the opening of TechCamp Namibia.

I want to begin by thanking you for participating in TechCamp Namibia. To our regional SADC friends and to our international trainers and experts: thank you for coming to Windhoek. To the large number of Namibians here: thank you for attending and representing such a wide spectrum of local interests. Thank you also to the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) for your work in organizing this event.

TechCamp Namibia is a collaboration between the Faculty of Computing and Informatics at NUST and the U.S. Department of State. It aims to connect private sector technology experts with professionals in other fields to explore and apply innovative technology solutions to global issues. The program is focused on results. Participants identify real-world challenges and work in partnership with each other and private sector trainers to apply technology solutions to those challenges.

TechCamp Namibia will be hands-on and highly interactive. Participants will work with world-class experts through a series of training and brainstorming sessions. It will focus on four key areas of digital security and preventing cybercrime; they include: policy, law enforcement, education, and industry. Through discussion-based sessions, you will share best practices and challenges with one another, and experts will offer technology tools and concepts to address the issues you raise.

TechCamp Namibia includes more than 80 local participants and 20 international participants from across the SADC region. Those in attendance represent a wide range of industry, government ministries, ICT regulators, law enforcement, academia, and NGOs. In addition, eight expert trainers from Africa, Europe, Australia, and the United States are also here to help guide the discussions. And, given the level of interest in cyber issues, a follow-on workshop will be offered to parliamentarians the day after TechCamp concludes.

In this highly collaborative and interactive environment, the goal is to help you further refine the challenges you would like to address and co-create solutions using technology. Your role will be to engage as much as possible with the TechCamp trainers and other participants by enthusiastically discussing, brainstorming, and networking. Articulating your challenges, problems, and concerns – as well as your ideas, experiences, and thoughts – will help everyone identify solutions together.

Once identified, we want to see those solutions become a reality. To support the solutions that emerge from your discussions over the next two days, there is a special pot of funding to see those solutions implemented. More details on the funding possibilities will be provided at the conclusion of the workshop.

The theme of TechCamp Namibia – “Cybersecurity for Everyone” – is an apt one. Cybersecurity is a common good, and information technology increasingly touches all aspects of life. Our hope is that these two days of engagement will enable you to be proactive advocates on behalf of your organizations and communities with regard to cyber issues. Greater and deeper cooperation between the public and private sectors, such as through this workshop, will make information technology more secure and develop better mechanisms to make communities safer and better informed.

We also hope that bringing you together will build networks and connections for future engagement. So please don’t think of this as only a two-day program, think of it as an opportunity to meet other professionals in your field working in Namibia and across the region. It is an opportunity to connect.

As you begin engaging one another and re-thinking the challenges you face on a daily basis, I look forward to hearing about the connections you create and the innovative solutions you develop.

Thank you again for coming, and I hope you enjoy TechCamp Namibia.