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Malawi taps into US$72.4m fund to drive major digital overhaul

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Malawi , 10 May 2021

Malawi’s Public Private Partnership Commission (PPPC) said it has drafted three strategies as part of the Digital Malawi Project developed to help digitise both the public and private sectors.

The Commission said the National Broadband Strategy, Digital Governance Strategy and Cybersecurity Strategy are focused on addressing challenges within the country’s telecommunications industry, with affordable internet access representing a major pain point.

In addition to making internet accessible and affordable in the country, the intention is to connect all government systems.

It said the Digital Governance Strategy aims at making Malawi a more attractive and competitive place for digital investment and innovation while working to expand ICT across the country.

The strategy will cover ICT regulation, policy development and implementation, as well as digital skills development.

The country’s government also plans to establish a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to construct a backbone network between the country’s capital, Lilongwe and the city of Nacara in Mozambique.

PPPC CEO Patrick Kabambe said the Commission was engaging the Ministry of Information and the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) to officially launch the strategies.

“The Digital Malawi project will require investment. Therefore, we are looking at various components and stakeholders and so we are putting investors in different areas and by the end of the project, there will be a massive transformation of digital technologies,” said Kabambe.

Principal Secretary at the Ministry of Information Francis Bisika said, “Apart from negotiating with mobile phone operators to reduce some charges which hinder digital transformation, we will also make available alternatives so that people can get alternative source of data.”

The project is being implemented through a credit facility of US$72.4-million from the International Development Association of the World Bank.

According to statistics from MACRA, only 14% of Malawi’s population currently has access to the internet.

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