By Tikondane Vega, MANA
Malawi Government on Monday said it will continue to prioritize provision of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in rural areas in order to connect all people to the globe world.
Minister of Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology, Mark Botomani said this in Thyolo District during a ground breaking ceremony for the construction of Thyolo Central and Thyolo North Telecentres under the ‘Connect a Constituency Project’.
Botomani said to achieve universal access to ICT in the country, government has stepped up its efforts to construct more telecentres in rural areas knowing that it is only through provision of internet to rural people that can connect them to the whole world.
The Minister further said it was the wish of the government to construct telecentres in all 193 constituencies to allow rural masses have access to modern information relating to school, health or business that have huge impact to people’s everyday life.
“We are living in a technological world. As such without access to Internet you cannot connect to the world hence government has intensified construction of telecentres in rural areas across the country without looking at political or religious affiliations.
“On the other hand Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (MACRA) is doing a great job to connect rural people with the global world by ensuring that telecentres are everywhere so that access to information should be easy,” said Botomani.
MACRA Board Member, Emily Banda said the Thyolo Central Telecentre will cost MACRA MK58 million but can reach as far as MK95 million including the cost of computers among other services, saying the major role of MACRA is to promote provision of universal ICT services in the country.
Banda said in the meantime MACRA has just finished construction of 21 telecentres of which 10 are ready for commissioning while 11 are under final touches.
“The telecentre will have computer lab, laminating room as well as photocopying and other services,” said Banda adding the ICT regulator is very serious in achieving universal access to ICT.
Member of Parliament for Thyolo Central, Ben Phiri said the coming in of a telecentre in his constituency will reduce economic migration, saying there will be no difference between town and rural people in as far as access to information is concerned.
Phiri, who is also Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, said provision of infrastructure development like telecentres is very important in promoting rural communities in their everyday activities.
“I am very grateful to government for this telecentre which is why you can see that I and the whole of Thyolo Central, we are all excited today. Such developments are crucial in as far as empowering rural masses with information is concerned,” said Phiri.
Member of Parliament for Thyolo North, Ephraim Nayeja said the coming in of Thyolo North Telecentre will close the communication gap in the area.
Senior Chief Mchiramwera has since commended government for the provision of telecentre in his area, saying all school leavers will have something to do now since ICT services are crucial in provision of information that people need in their lives.
The chief said the Telecentres once completed have the potential to motivate youths in Thyolo district.