Malawi goes on charm offensive to reduce data prices, improve connectivity
Malawi has launched the Diplomatic Data Corridors project in an effort to address the high cost of internet and data services, as well as the country’s low internet penetration.
As part of the project, Malawi’s government has entered into negotiations with Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia to consider directing their internet traffic into Malawi.
Daud Suleman, Director General of the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra), said the country wants to double the current internet penetration rate to 40% in three years and leverage connections from undersea cables into Malawi to ensure a reduction in the cost of data services.
He cited Malawi’s geographical position as a major challenge and said this has resulted in high IP-transit and international bandwidth costs.
Suleman said, “We are ready to sign agreements that will give us cheaper data through fibre networks.”
Macra added that in addition to the data corridors, the increase in competition in local telecommunications will help to drive down data costs, and the licensing of StarLink will usher in affordable broadband through satellite services.
Hansford Chaaba, Corporate Communications Manager at the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA), said, “ZICTA welcomes the initiative by Macra and is committed to a continued spirit of mutually beneficial co-operation and collaboration between the two regulators.”
In 2017, ZICTA and Macra entered into a partnership based on an ICT and postal cross-border collaboration.