The World Bank has approved $72.4 million for the Malawi Digital Foundations Project, the first phase of the Digital Malawi Program to help the country build the foundation towards becoming a global digital economy.
Noting that an investment in ICT is an investment in economic growth, jobs, education, health, agriculture and good governance, World Bank Country Manager for Malawi, Laura Kullenberg added, “Across the world, communications, commerce and services are moving online. Malawi cannot afford to be left behind.”
The Malawi Digital Foundations Project will expand access to the internet by making it more affordable, reliable and available in the country that ranked 168 out of 175 in the 2016 International Telecommunication Union’s Global ICT Development Index.
It will also help the government build the required infrastructure and skills to enhance its online public services offerings.
“This project assures Malawi of a better digital future- using technology to modernize government operations, enabling citizens to access public services and information online from any corner of the country and preparing today’s youth with the digital skills needed for the jobs of tomorrow,” Nicholas Dausi, Minister of Information and Communications Technology said.
It will leverage private sector infrastructure investment and support regulatory and policy measures to increase competitiveness, quality and affordability of internet services in Malawi.
In addition for cost cutting for the government by streamlining its operations, the project expected to close in 2022 will enhance transparency and efficiency of government procurement.
The Malawi Digital Foundations Project will be implemented by the Public-Private Partnership Commission (PPPC). Other partners include the Ministry of ICT and the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) which are tasked with creating a conducive climate for digital investment in the country.
Jimmy Lipunga, CEO, PPPC underlined the importance of both the public and private sectors in rolling out Malawi’s digital transformation efforts.