Malawi Cabinet adopts ICT Policy

By Gregory Gondwe, Blantyre, Malawi

The Malawi cabinet yesterday adopted a national ICT policy which was first drafted in 2006 but was sent back as it left out other crucial elements when it was first developed.

In an interview after the adoption, Minister of Information and Civic Education Moses Kunkuyu told Biztech Africa that they will be coming up with a statement today to announce about the development.

Malawi has been toying with the idea of creating an ICT policy but for long, the initiative has been affected by ‘bureaucratic procrastination’ and change of government.

One thing officials say prompted the policy to be taken back to the drawing board was that although government created an e-government department in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), its provisions were not provided for in the policy.  

According to the initial draft which was called the National ICT for Development (ICT4D) Policy it was meant to be part of the process which Malawi, as nation, had to go through in her efforts to build a knowledge based economy and information rich society.

Malawi, like other countries, the first draft observed, was convinced that her predominantly agro-based economy could rapidly grow and diversify through participation in the information society.

“In order to fully benefit from the information revolution, Malawi needs to modernize various sectors of her economy using ICTs,” it says.

The current policy is also said to be multi-pronged, unlike the first draft which had a dual focus.

Nevertheless, it has retained the spirit of the policy which aims at developing the ICT industry and sector; and promoting the development and use of ICTs in all sectors for the greatest impact in socio-economic development.

The adoption of the policy is expected to speed up the final drafting of the e-bill, which is also well covered in the policy.

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