CRAN, The Year That Was.

In a world where technology is urging the tides of change forward, Namibia, like all
other countries, has been forced to up its game to ensure that regulations are current,
relevant and serves the needs and expectations of Namibia’s information and
communication technology (ICT) consumers. With this, the Communications
Regulatory Authority of Namibia’s (CRAN) mantra of a high quality, accessible and
affordable communications technological need for all Namibians has become even
more important today.

Amidst the unforeseen, unprecedented and catastrophic Coronavirus pandemic
(COVID-19), Authorities such as CRAN have become increasingly crucial to making
online interactions safe, secure and protected. Much like the rest of Namibia and
around the world, CRAN and its employees were not immune to this virus and as staff
of the CRAN began testing positive for COVID-19, the Authority with urgency, reevaluated
its strategy to ensure the well-being of employees whilst still ensuring that
the needs of ICT consumers and stakeholders were met. In regards to the safety of
employees, CRAN undertook to adhere to the national health protocols in what has
become the new norm of social and work environment requirements. To minimise the
spread and contamination in the workplace, CRAN implemented social distancing at
the work place, made mask wearing mandatory and put in place hand sanitizing
stations to best play its part in preventing the further spread of the pandemic.
Additionally, to further ensure employees’ safety, work-from-home was introduced in
an effort to safeguard our employees.

CRAN, in consultation with Telecommunications Services Licensees, approved two
toll free emergency numbers, 0800 100 100 and 911, for reporting COVID-19
incidences. This initiative was welcomed by Namibians and was well utilised nationally
by members of the public and so proved to be a successful initiative.

In this milestone 9th year of CRAN’s existence, the pandemic set a new course for
CRAN and its business strategy through 2020. The year was filled with unexpected
disruptions, but this did not deter CRAN from making headway on key projects
earmarked for 2020.

One of the topmost priorities CRAN managed to successfully roll out, in what is
becoming this increasingly digital society, was to re-evaluate and revamp its online
website and presence. On the 11th of July 2020, when lockdown had put the majority
of Namibians in “stay at home” situations, as from mid-March 2020, CRAN launched
its revamped website which provided much needed, in-depth and detailed critical
information, news and documents and online consumer protection submission
functionality. The revamped website has been a new basis to allow stakeholders to
engage CRAN, on issues pertaining to cyber protection, Spectrum Licences awarded
to Broadcasters, ICT statistics, tariffs and vacancies, available tenders and tender
awards. The website provides content on CRAN’s history, activities and is informative
on future plans that have made CRAN what it is today and what it wishes to be in the
future. The website is a new and crucial resource for wider outreach to inform, engage
and interact with the public, and provides an understanding of what is required for and
by our stakeholders in terms of the ICT landscape in Namibia.

Memorandum of Understanding
2020 also saw CRAN’s successful conclusion and signing of a Memorandum of
Understanding (MoU) with the Namibian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). This MoU
was agreed upon by legal teams from CRAN and NCAA and enables the regulations
and governing relationship between the two entities pertaining to all communications
on route, during approach, when landing and taking-off of aircrafts in the Namibian
skies. This was a highly necessary and impactful agreement.

Performance and Governance Agreement
Additionally, on 12 October 2020, CRAN’s Board of Directors signed a Performance
and Governance agreement with the Ministry of Information and Communication
Technology (MICT). The agreement serves as a tool through which the Government
of the Republic of Namibia holds public office bearers accountable, for terms as listed
under the agreement, and allows for a continuous maintenance of checks and
balances on the affairs of a public entity. This brings about an ease in monitoring and
evaluating performances of a State-owned entity. With the signing of this agreement,
CRAN Board Members undertook to proactively account to robust, timely and
transparent delivery on its mandate in the best interest of all Namibians.

An important initiative to CRAN has been the growing utilisation of E-learning. As one
might assume, the current pandemic has added quite a strain on especially
educational institutions to provide access to digital resources to ensure learners are
receiving education through online platforms. In this momentous year, CRAN was
challenged in doing just that as COVID-19 demanded double the action from CRAN
and all ICT service and product providers. The year 2020 saw an increase in the
demand for accessing information as it became a matter of importance for issues
relating to health, education and communication. There has never been a greater
need for the ICT sector to create an easier, affordable and quality access to ICT
products and services to be the enabler of e-learning, information dissemination and
for connecting people who could not meet face-to-face. CRAN has thus recognised
the need for further development in this field and commits itself to adjusting its policy
and regulations to provide for this need.

Appointment of Chief Executive Officer
In the last month of 2020, CRAN appointed its new Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Emilia
Nghikembua, a long-standing member of CRAN who joined the company in 2011 as
a Legal Advisor. By 2015, she climbed the ranks to Head Legal Advisor until her hard
work and dedicated service was celebrated at new heights on the 10th of December
2020 with her new position. Mrs. Nghikembua was selected as the best candidate for
this position as she possessed the required experience and skills, was dynamic and
would bring new energy necessary in these unprecedented and trying times.

Celebratory Events
CRAN celebrated and raised awareness of important celebratory days that
acknowledged the importance of accessible and affordable information for all. These
included the celebration and raising awareness of World Telecommunications Day,
International Day for Universal Access to information and World Post Day. The
celebration of these awareness days are important as they are an essential element
in providing access to ICT and its sub-sectors namely, postal, telecommunications and
broadcasting. And what better way to promote such days than to disseminate the
message across Namibia on the importance and role of ICT in our daily lives.

As a direct result of the pandemic, organisations all over the world have had to change
how they operate in order to achieve their goals. Companies will have to almost
reinvent themselves through new operating models, capitalising on this malleable
moment and the resulting spread of agile processes, nimbler ways and methods of
working with increased speed and productivity. CRAN’s authority, as mandated and
established in terms of the Communications Act, (No. 8 of 2009), is to provide for the
regulation of telecommunications services and networks, broadcasting, postal
services and the use and allocation of radio spectrum, has as in its vision of access,
quality and affordability for all, a long road ahead to provide for the Namibian people
its promise in these new times.

Moving into 2021, CRAN remains committed to contribute towards Namibia’s
sustainable socio-economic development and will continue to reach out to facilitate
the adoption of technological information to take Namibia into the future. CRAN will
ensure that necessary measures are taken to protect and position itself to be of better
resilience to these challenging times.

We encourage the public to visit our website for a full review of CRAN’s
2020 accolades and to have further insight and information on how the
Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia functions.

Heinrich Mihe Gaomab II
CRAN Board of Directors