By Patricia Kapulula
Lilongwe, August 25: Malawi and Zambia have signed a Diplomatic Data Corridor Agreement and a Government-to-Government Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which will bridge the digital divide and provide an affordable and accessible lucrative digital market.
The agreements, which were signed in Lilongwe on Thursday, will ensure access to cheaper internet, facilitated by Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) and Fibrecom of Zambia.
Minister of Information and Digitalization Moses Kunkuyu said, through the agreements, Malawi is creating a low cost internet which will enable its people create opportunities resulting from low data cost.
He said Malawi, being a landlocked country, has high internet charges as data is obtained from undersea cables whose landing cost is high, hence making the charges transferable to consumers.
“The aim is to lower the cost of data. The signing of this agreement will see data landing costs into the country lowered, thereby allowing Malawians access internet in different fields,” he said.
Speaking on the same, Zambia Minister of Technology and Science Felix Mutati said Africa needs to be connected in order to have economic progress and expand opportunities.
“Internet is the life blood that transforms the way we do business and cost has been one of the barriers to accessing internet. You cannot transform if you have a barrier of cost around internet. We are now breaking it down,” said Mutati.
Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) Director General Daudi Suleman said the agreement aims to create a single digital market and ensure that Malawi has a safer digital space.
Suleman said Malawi is pushing towards reducing data costs, adding such agreements are a step in the right direction.
Over 22,000 homes in Malawi and 3,000 businesses are ready for fiber connection through the ESCOM broadband.