Towards a knowledge-based economy


By 2030, Namibia is envisioned to be a knowledge-based society. Therefore, “Namibia needs to fast track its development process, and springboard over the heavy industry development path taken by the industrialised countries. …To do this, we will have to transform ourselves into an innovative, knowledge-based society, supported by a dynamic, responsive and highly effective education and training system” (Vision 2030: p.77).

Although Vision 2030 does not provide much details on a knowledge-based economy, knowledge and information have a big role to play. Information can be defined as that which reduces uncertainty or changes an individual’s degree of belief or understanding (Glazer, 1993), and changes the state of the knowledge of the user of the information (Inwersen, 1992: 30, 31). Namibian libraries, which mainly provides general and technical information, provides citizens a variety of resources to acquire new skills and ideas. These ideas breed new ideas, thus making individuals more innovative.

Innovation, which comes from the knowledge and experience they have acquired, must be supported by the organisations or Ministries in which they work. As Davenport and Prusak (2000, 17) puts it, “The potential for new ideas arising from the stock of knowledge in any firm is practically limitless — particularly if the people in the firm are given opportunities to think, to learn, and to talk with one another. Paul Romer, who has worked at the leading edge of knowledge economies, argues that only knowledge resources–ideas–have unlimited potential for growth: “In a world with physical limits, it is discoveries of big ideas…together with the discovery of millions of little ideas…, that make persistent economic growth possible. Ideas are the instructions that let us combine limited physical resources in arrangements that are ever more valuable (1993, 64)”.

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