PPPC gears up for launch of Malawi Digital Projects

Kabambe picture by Pemphero Musowa

Public Private Partnership Commission (PPPC) has says it is ready to launch various activities in the Digital Malawi Project.

The Digital Malawi Project, worth $72.4 million is aimed at digital transformation of Malawi's economy, society and government by extending and improving critical Information and Communication Technology infrastructure for the public and private sector.

It also aims to improve ICT governance, government services, reduce infrastructure costs by providing reliable, fast and adaptive government digitals systems that will facilitate provision of e services thereby enhancing public service delivery. 

PPPC Chief Executive Officer Patrick Kabambe said activities for development of various government strategies on Information Communication Technology have been completed. 

He explained they have engaged Ministry of Information and Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) to launch and publish official copies of the final versions for three strategies.

The strategies are; National Broadband Strategy, Digital Government and Cybersecurity strategies.

"Two ICT surveys on the adoption and utilization of ICTs in the private sector and Enterprises, have already been finalized by MACRA and National Statistics Office (NSO) and will be published in May."

The CEO said under the component, two studies namely the Universal Service Fund (USF) Gap Analysis and Data Protection are ongoing.

Draft legislation has been submitted to the Taskforce government set up for formulation of the law. 

The Taskforce has held public and stakeholder consultations and is now overseeing the finalization of the draft. 

The Gap Analysis Study has been extended and will be completed by June 2021. 

MACRA, through the project, has completed a Cyber Security Maturity model (CMM) for the nation's assessment. 

"This is an assessment of the nation's Cybersecurity readiness against international benchmarks. Government finalised a legal review report on digital government legislation and conducted extensive stakeholder consultations. A first draft of the legislation has been submitted and is undergoing review before it is submitted to a wider audience.

"By June 2021, the Digital Malawi Project will launch the various strategies mentioned, complete the gap Analysis Study,  Data Protection Legislation and the Digital Government Legislation.

Kabambe further said the digital skills and innovation grant's signed with six tech hubs; Growth Africa, Dzuka Africa, hub, Enterpreurs Hubz TeknoLab and Ntha Foundation aimed at building skills capacity among the youth and promotion of digital entrepreneurship through incubation and acceleration programs will be launched by June 2021.

"4,500 youths have been targeted in order to close gaps in basic use of computers and internet by the general population."

Speaking on Malawi Research and Education Network (MAREN), the PPPC boss said they will finalize national connectivity by May 2021.

MAREN is a national level research established mainly dedicated to the communication and collaboration needs of the research and education communities.

Under the activity, PPPC signed with Ubuntu Alliance to connect Malawian universities and institutions as well as provide for direct engineering assistance to ensure campus networks follow best practices in higher education networks. 

Among those connected include Malawi Malawi College of Accountancy, Unicaf, University,  Chancellor College and others.

PPPC is also going to launch free WIFI to 30 sites under the Rural broadband (Universal Service Fund). The will include markets, libraries, hospital and schools.