By Bester Kayaye
Public-Private-Partnership Commission (PPPC) has announced plans to partner with the Ministry of Information and Digitalization in enhancing public sector connectivity through the Digital Malawi Project.
PPPC representative, Ann Liabunya, told the media that the project aims at expanding and improving access to critical ICT infrastructure for increased public/private sector ICT governance, access to government services and to facilitate the provision of e-services.
Funded by the World Bank at tune of $72 million the project is comprised of four components including; Digital Ecosystems, Digital Platforms and Services, Project Management and Digital Connectivity a component seeking to leverage strategic public investments and incentives to improve access to high speed, affordable connectivity for government, citizens and businesses across Malawi.
“There are 500 selected sites to be connected to free internet and these were selected by ICT heads from different Ministries, Departments and Agencies and other public institutions. Three contractors have been awarded a 10-year contract for implementation of this project,” Liabunya said.
She added that among the 47 sites that are to benefit from free internet connectivity in the southern region are; Chichiri Prison, Chileka Airport, Ndirande Hill Secondary School, Chichiri Secondary School, Lunzu Secondary School, Blantyre High Court, Limbe Court, Midima Court, Bangwe Post Office and Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital.
Senior Chief Kuntaja has however asked government to ensure that the project benefits both the rural and urban areas, citing community day secondary schools as important sites.
Chief Economist for Blantyre District Council, Melayi Mhone said: “We would like to assure the government that Blantyre District Council will support the project. All we are asking for is internet connection in rural areas because some people do refuse to work in the rural areas because of lack of internet connectivity.”