ICT to help Malawi’s battered economy
BUSINESSBy BiztechAfrica - Oct. 22, 2012, 4:36 p.m.
By Gregory Gondwe, Blantyre, Malawi
Malawi’s Government says it plans to use ICTs to help recover the battered economy. For this reason, ICT has been included in the Malawi Economic Recovery Plan (ERP), which is now being popularised.
Information and Civic Education Minister Moses Kunkuyu told a public awareness meeting of the ERP in Blantyre that ICT is one of the key drivers of economic growth.
“ICT would put the country on the right economic footing through introduction of several system upgrades and setting up of high grade interconnectivity,” said Kunkuyu.
He also said ICT would enable digitisation of the broadcasting sector, in addition to creating platforms such as e-government, e-learning and e-commerce.
On page 12 of the 21-page-ERP says Government will aim at improving usage and adoption of electronic and online services; availability of service; geographical coverage; and usage of modern broadcasting technology and reducing communication costs by among other things improving the regulatory framework for the sector.
The plan also says this would also be achieved through the liberalization of the mobile telecommunications sector which will in the end encourage new international entrants.
Ensuring liberal regulatory environment regarding international ICT gateway licenses is another means, the plan hopes will take up to achieve this.
At the sensitisation meeting, the information and civic education Minister observed that digitisation of the broadcasting sector would boost the broadcasting industry as the process would enable registration of more television and radio stations.
“This will have multiplier effects like a booming TV/radio programmes production industry, which has a very high potential to create jobs since the numerous radios and TVs will definitely outsource their programming functions to achieve quality,” said Kunkuyu.
In line with the Economic Recovery Plan, Kunkuyu said government will improve usage and adoption of electronic and online services, while on the other hand improving courses at the National College of Information Technology (NACIT).
Kunkuyu says ICTs will ensure availability of e-services, usage of modern broadcasting technology and reduction of communication costs by improving the regulatory framework for the sector, liberalising the mobile telecommunications sector to encourage new international entrants.
The plan foresees platforms like e-government hosting all government departments on a shared hub, which will be interconnected with all government sectors allowing all government files to be accessed using computers used by government officers.
This, the minister said, would improve efficiencies and cut costs such as travel, since capacity will be made available for video conferencing and document exchanging.
Through e-commerce, Kunkuyu said, the business community will also utilise ICT for its growth in particular and the national economic growth in general.
The business community will be able to transact through the internet which in turn will enable fast acquisition of goods.
“This would increase economic activities within and outside Malawi while on the other hand e-learning would push up literacy levels so that we have a literate nation as anyone will access education qualifications through electronic studies,” said Kunkuyu.
According to the ERP, the baseline survey of April 2012, telephone lines per 100 population is at 36.3, but it targets to reach 41.23 by December 2013.
The same base line survey puts cellular line subscribers per 100 population at 0.80 while internet users per 100 population at 20. However, it is hoped that by December 2013, cellular subscribers will reach 0.83 while internet users will be at 23.49 per 100.
MORE BUSINESS NEWS
Samsung to open TV manufacturing plant in SASamsung Electronics South Africa announced its plan to open a television manufacturing plant in The Dube Trade Port, Durban by end of this year. Read More
Econet rejects base station reportEconet Wireless has released a statement refuting recent media reports around its importation of base stations. Read More
Nigeria: potential to become major economic forceA new McKinsey report finds that Nigeria has the potential to expand its economy by roughly 7.1 percent per year through 2030. Read More
Call for pan-African contact centre associationInteractive Intelligence has called for the creation of a call centre association for Nigeria and other African countries as a way of promoting a standard for call centres. Read More
AMI, Strathmore launch free online courses for managers and entrepreneurs in AfricaManagers and entrepreneurs in Africa can now gain advanced skills for free, with the launch of free online courses courtesy of the African Management Initiative (AMI). Read More
Bytes, NCR and Barclays in ATM dealBytes Managed Solutions, the exclusive distributor of NCR technology solutions in Southern Africa had signed a deal with Barclays Bank of Botswana (BBB) for the installation of intelligent cash deposit ATMs. Read More
Orange reports 8% revenue growthIntegrated telecommunications service provider Orange has announced an 8% revenue growth for the overall business for the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year. Read More
Business Connexion appoints CEOBusiness Connexion Group Limited has announced that Mr. Isaac Mophatlane has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the company. Read More
Managed service support key to growth for iWayAfricaPan African telecoms operator, Gondwana International Networks (GIN) has announced that its iWayAfrica business will be partnering with managed services company, SevenC Computing to grow its foothold in key Africa territories. Read More
FEATURED STORYWidening ICT skills gap: Cause for concern
Nigeria's FDI gains could be eroded by the widening gap in indigenous skilled ICT manpower, writes Kokumo Goodie.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHKenya rolls out e-extension to improve agriculture
In a bid to curb the overwhelmed number of agricultural extension officers in Kenya, the ministry of agriculture is embracing technology with their introduction of E-Extension services, which are aimed at reaching out to over 7 million farmers annually.