Thirty two sites in Malawi, among them markets, schools, hospitals, libraries and airports are now offering free Internet access. This follows the launch of the Free Wi-Fi zones initiatives, under the Digital Malawi project through the Public Private Partnership Commission (PPPC).
The launch started with a tour of Blantyre market before proceeding to Blantyre Secondary School where Minister of Information Gospel Kazako urged Malawians to embrace the digital revolution to progress.
Kazako explained: "What we want is to ensure we create accessibility and affordability and presence, these are the tools we are going to use to achieve a digital economy.
"We can't embrace a new Malawi without e-services. This is one of the key elements if we have to fully implement Malawi 2063-embrace Information, Communication, Technology.
"The future is digital, the future is E, there is no way we are going to develop if we ignore digital development. Globalisation demands the need for outward thinking."
Patrick Kabambe, Chief Executive Officer called the launch a landmark event.
Young people accessing Internet in the libraries
"COVID-19 has shown us there is need to utilise the Internet for business to survive and thrive.
"If Malawi is to be part of this industrial revolution we have to embrace technology. Education needs to embrace Wi-Fi from the onset because it is the growth of a nation," he said.
PPPC signed an agreement with mobile and ICT services provider TNM in December 2020 to provide free Wi-Fi in public places.
Kabambe added that PPPC is in talks with the World Bank which funded the Digital Malawi project with a credit facility of US$72.4 million to increase sites.
"It enables the availability of services, imagine farmers having knowledge of prices and others services giving, this will give control, power to negotiate. It is not a luxury but a necessity. Studies have shown increase in broadband has impact of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and tax revenue."
Chief Finance Officer for TNM, Peter Kadzitche said: "The launch shows our commitment to uplift education, right to education is increasingly mobile and virtual and access is not a luxury it is the currency of education.