SASSCAL Executive Director Dr Jane Olwoch and Statistician-General & CEO of NSA, Mr Alex Shimuafeni      pictured during the signing of the MoU

Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL) and Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for cooperation and coordination on the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) and sharing of data hosted in SASSCAL Open Access Data Centre (OADC).

During the signing ceremony SASSCAL’s Executive Director, Dr Jane Olwoch, highlighted the importance of data as we navigate through the fourth Industrial Revolution, “Data rules a world where nearly everyone and everything is connected in real time, this will require a highly reliable, secure and available infrastructure at its core, and innovation at the edge.”

The Statistician-General & CEO of NSA, Mr Alex Shimuafeni noted collaboration fostered through partnership agreement among various consortium, producers and users of geo-spatial data regionally and internationally aids to achieve a common goal. The objective of NSDI can only be achieved when the operation carried out in an exclusive cooperative and collaborative manner. Mr Shimuafeni stressed “The government has laid the foundation of the legal framework in place, but as institutions we need to play our part by ensuring coordination and consolidation of efforts in developing the NSDI”.

Dr Jane Olwoch further reminded the participants that the value of data remains in its use, therefore sharing and providing free and open access are necessary to maximize its benefit; converting it into readily available information is mandatory to aid decision making. Users of Data, she remarked, have evolved over the years and they no longer require data only, but information that is delivered in real time to enable them address urgent and complex economic, social, and environmental issues.  At the core of NSDI lies the concept of partnerships, thereby increasing the potential to improve information available to support decision making at all levels of government and private sector. This MoU is a demonstration that both NSA and SASSCAL recognise partnerships as a crucial success factor in data access and dissemination.

Through this MoU both parties will collaborate in areas of mutual interest pertaining to the development of the NSDI for Namibia and other areas such as SASSCAL’s products and services housed in the Open Access Data Centre (OADC). In her closing remark, Dr Olwoch envisaged a joint effort between SASSCAL and NSA will positively contribute to the advancement of the NSDI strategic implementation and data collection.

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