Lack of connectivity is costing Malawi
Malawi’s telecommunications industry could generate approximately US$13-million in additional revenue annually by connecting two million people who are without access to the internet.
This is according to the ICT Market Access Gap Study, conducted by the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA), which found that in addition to lack of access to broadband, only 44% of locals have access to television and 39% do not have access to postal services.
MACRA’s Head of Universal Service Fund (USF) Emily Lungu said that people living in 233 traditional authorities (rural areas) cannot access broadband internet “as there (is) no service provision”.
Lungu said that together with the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), they are working on a five-year universal service strategy to address ICT gaps.
This is being supported by information sourced through market research conducted by CTO to identify access and service gaps, and relevant target regions.
Lungu added: “The drafting of the strategic plan means that over 720, 000 Malawians will be connected to the broadband access and services, 1,300 institutions to Wi-Fi access, 470 institutions will be connected to electricity and over 94% of Malawians to television signal.”
ICT Association of Malawi president Bram Fundzulani said while the lack of broadband is limiting internet usage in the country, the high cost of smartphone devices is another challenge.
He was quoted by the local Nation newspaper saying, “We need to revise taxes and fees levied on smartphones for an ordinary Malawian to afford.”
Figures from MACRA show that only about 14% of Malawians have access to the internet.