Namibia: Computer equipment to improve the collection of fishing data handed over

-formal termination of the development cooperation between ICEIDA and the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in Namibia



ICEIDA has just supplied the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in Namibia with twenty-five hand-held computers along with accessories. That marked a formal termination of a project implemented by ICEIDA and the ministry, but the main objective of the project was to improve the data collection of catches landed in Namibia.

According to Vilhjálmur Wiium, ICEIDA´s Country Director in Namibia, the fishing industry is an important industry in Namibia, regardless of income, employment or the procurement of foreign currency. He says that around twenty percent of export revenue comes from the fishing industry and nearly six percent of the GDP can be attributed to the sector.

“Namibia also has the unique position among other nations, that the collection of a resource-fee in the fishing industry provides quite an amount to the public purse, much higher than the public expenditure on marine research and control. Yet, the resource-fee is not only a revenue-generating instrument. Integral parts of it are various catalysts, for example; ship operators pay lower fee if they bring the catch ashore for processing instead of processing it at sea. This fee has therefore benefited the Namibian Government in reaching various goals they have set in the fishing industry. The resource-fee is determined by the size of the catch and also by the way it is processed. That is why it is important for the Government to have correct data. In that field there have been problems. Two years ago the Namibian Government made a request for ICEIDA´s support in improving the data collection. ICEIDA has cooperated with the ministry in various projects, so this project came as a normal continuation. Icelandic experts, Baldvin Baldvinsson, from the Directorate of Fisheries and HandPoint, an Icelandic company that specialises in the use of hand held computers, came and gave advice and designed a system that suites Namibian circumstances. In short, the system has been developed and is being set off. That is promising.”

Vilhjálmur says that since the Icelandic Government has decided to terminate development cooperation with Namibia as of 2010, everything indicates that this will be the last cooperation project between ICEIDA and the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in Namibia. “Even though we were pleased with the new system, the hand-over was not without heartache,” says Vilhjálmur. “The Namibian undersecretary, Frans Tsheehama, spoke highly of Iceland’s part in the development of Namibian fishing industry and that Icelanders will be sorely missed in the country when the cooperation will finally be terminated.”