1. various initiatives and interventions at all levels

1.   
CURRENT STATUS OF ICT IN MALAWI

a.  
Malawi
is a small country in the southern Africa with a population of 18,000,000
according to the Malawi National statistics report of 2017.

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b.  
A
majority of Malawians live in remote areas and urban migration mostly for the
youth is the order of the day in search of greener pastures

c.  
The
ICT Global index 2016 report launched during the world Telecommunications/ICT
indicators symposium ranked Malawi 168 out of 175 countries that were captured
to measure the information society and ICT Development index (IDI)

d.  
In
accordance with the survey and report based on the Access and Usage of ICT
Services Survey 2014 that was conducted by the National Statistical Office
(NSO) on behalf of Malawi communication Regulatory Authority (MACRA), it was
revealed the majority of Malawians do not have the access or do not know the
basics and use of ICT in their day to day lives.

e.  
The
main objective of the survey was to establish access and usage of ICT services
at household and individual levels in the country. The survey captured data on
critical ICT indicators as defined by the International Telecommunications
Union (ITU), the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) and Universal
Postal Union (UPU) as well as those on recent developments in the sector.

f.    
The
executing findings of the report shows that all the ICT services which were
sample were below 50% and some as low as 1%

g.  
The
highest being the use and mobile phone and the lowest being access to own a
desktop computer and owning of a family postal address.

h.   
The
table below shows the executive summary of the status of ICT in Malawi based on
the survey;

Figure 1: ICT Usage in Malawi

 

 

2.    STRATEGIC
PLAN FOR DEVELOPING ICT IN MALAWI

a.  
Given
the benefits and opportunities offered by ICT, it is acknowledged that Malawi
cannot effectively forge ahead with its development agenda without putting in
place an appropriate framework for ICT to support and accelerate various
initiatives and interventions at all levels of society.

b.  
In
this regard, the Malawi government rolled out a policy which sets out Malawi’s
development agenda in the information age based on the fundamental principles
of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi as outlined in Chapter 3.

c.  
The
policy is also based on the Policy Framework Document: “An Integrated ICT-led
Socio-economic Development Policy and Plan Development Framework for Malawi”.

d.  
In
this Policy, Government has defined priority areas that will have a huge impact
in the realization of an information society and knowledge-based economy. As
Malawi implements the policy, the following benefits are expected to be
realised:

e.  
Job
creation and foreign currency savings through local production of ICT-based
products and services;

f.    
Higher
education status for the country due to the increased access to education and
learning materials at all levels of education;

g.  
Lower
doctor-patient ratios and improved access to medical care and information;

h.   
Diversified
marketing opportunities and increased income for the country.

i.     
Some
of the initiatives that will be implemented through this policy include
improvement of ICT infrastructure and connectivity to international internet
routes with increased internet bandwidth. These initiatives are intended to
bring down the cost of communication especially for the internet-based
applications and services.

j.     
Through
this policy, Government will establish a legal and regulatory framework to
protect consumers of ICT products and services.

 

2.1        
OVERAL POLICY OUTCOMES

2.1.1    
The
following outcomes will be realized after implementing this policy:

2.1.2    
Increased
access to basic health and educational facilities; and increased skills in ICT;

2.1.3    
Improved
engagement of citizens, increased access to Government services and improved
Government transparency;

2.1.4    
Vibrant
ICT industry that will facilitate the development of ICT products and services
as well invigorating other industries;

2.1.5    
Universal
Access to ICT Services

2.1.6    
Diversified
income opportunities for Malawi;

2.1.7    
Provision
of enhanced ICT services in a secure and trustworthy environment;

2.1.8    
Professional
and world-class ICT-based products and services;

2.1.9    
Improved
access to relevant information and public services.

 

 

2.2        
ICT POLICY PRIORITY AREAS IN MALAWI

2.2.1    
The
transformation of Malawi into a predominantly information-rich society and
knowledge-based economy requires targeting areas of priority and of major
contribution to the economy in a more integrated approach. In this respect, ten
priority areas have been addressed by the policy; namely:

·        
Strategic
ICT Leadership,

·        
Human
Capital Development,

·        
E-Government
Services,

·        
ICT
in Industries,

·        
ICT
Infrastructure Development,

·        
ICT
in the priority Growth Sectors,

·        
Responsive
ICT Legal, Regulatory and Institutional Framework,

·        
National
Security,

·        
International
Cooperation, and

·        
Universal
Access of ICT and ICT related services

 

2.3        
IMPLEMENTATION PLAN

2.3.1    
Implementation
of this policy will be guided by the detailed Implementation, Monitoring and
Evaluation Strategy which is separate document that accompanies the policy
document. An ICT Master Plan will be developed to expand and make the
Implementation Strategy more comprehensive.

 

2.4        
MONITORING AND EVALUATION

2.4.1    
The
implementation of the Policy shall be monitored and evaluated for effectiveness
and responsiveness in meeting intended goals and objectives. Monitoring will be
done annually or as may be determined. Evaluation shall be conducted every
three years to measure impact.

 

3.   
MY VIEW ON THE PRIMARY ISSUES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR
DEVELOPING ICT IN MALAWI

 

3.1 General
overview

3.1.1    
Malawians
have the hunger to embrace ICT as it comes. This is evidenced by the rising
number of people buying and using electronic gadgets mostly in the rural areas.
As the government is implementing the rural electrification program (MAREP) in
semi urban and rural areas, the number of Malawians using ICT equipment is also
on the increase.

3.1.2    
Business
opportunities have also arisen by the service providers to assist the rural
masses embrace the new technologies.

3.1.3    
Some of the
providers include;

·        
ISP

·        
Telecommunication
Companies

·        
TV
subscribing station

3.1.4    
The major
issue is that the service providers tend to rip off where there are no
competitors within the industry.

3.1.5    
For example
Malawi has one big Pay TV subscribing company which is way expensive comparing
to other countries because of lack of competition.

3.1.6    
One other
factor is lack of technical knowledge by the users. For example most ISP
provide less band width as to what the customers pay and lack of capacity by
the customers to crosscheck hamper the growth of ICT in Malawi.

3.1.7    
In closing,
I feel the government has to empower MACRA to police the usage of ICT so that
the demands of Malawians are met.

 

4.    REFERENCES

Macra. (2013,
April). An ICT Led Malawi. Retrieved from
http://www.macra.org.mw/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Malawi-ICT-Policy-2013.pdf
Macra. (2014). Access
and use of ICT Services survey final report. Retrieved from
http://www.macra.org.mw/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/ACCESS-AND-USE-OF-ICT-SERVICES-SURVEY-FINAL-REPORT.pdf
Mbvundula, T. P.
(2014, December). An Integrated Socio-Economic and ICT . Retrieved
from
http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.201.768&rep=rep1&type=pdf
Mhango, G. (2016,
December 01). Malawi ranks low on global ICT index. Retrieved from

Malawi ranks low on global ICT index


 

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