The much-awaited optic fibre project that’s set to change the game in Malawi’s ICT profile finally rolls out this Sunday.
Escom and Chinese IT giant Huawei Technologies who will implement the Malawi National Optic Fibre Backbone Project made the announcement on Wednesday.
President Peter Mutharika commissioned the $23 million project last April.
Addressing the press in Blantyre, Head of Optic Fibre Communications at Escom Charles Kabinda said Government wants reliable services from the project and the two companies will deliver accordingly.
Deputy Director in the Department of e-Government in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology Victor Malewa said the project will greatly improve people’s access to broadband and internet.
The project will also greatly improve government operations through systems such as Integrated Financial Management and Information System (IFMIS), Human Resource Management Information System, Immigration and National Registration and Identification System. All these systems will be connected through the project, he said.
Huawei’s Chief Technical Officer Bruce Ding said the company will employ 300 people in the course of the project and will ensure the project finishes on time.
As the implementation is in progress, Escom will be required to ration power in the areas where the project is being implemented at that particular time.
The project will reach all the 28 districts.
During the commissioning of the project, President Mutharika described it as a game changer for all Malawians – rural and urban -and a critical component in Malawi’s transformation and industrialisation programme.
He said: “Optic fibre network means every Malawian, every business person, every farmer, every student and every youth on affordable, high speed and accessible internet. With fast and cheaper internet, our people will have an opportunity to easily access digital information.”
President Mutharika added:
“With this project, we are launching Malawi onto the information super highway. We are driving Malawi into the digital generation. Above all, I want us to see a digital driven economy.”
The project will see connectivity to every district and every Government and public office.
“You will be closer to your Government and your Government closer to you. If you live far in some village community, you no longer travel far Government services.
“I know that there are many Malawians who travel from far villages just to enquire about death benefits from the Administrator General’s office in the city. With this connectivity, you should be able to get the Administrator General’s support right in the district where you are.
“With this project, we will connect Government procurement and payment systems to resolve problems of delayed payments and fraud. And for the first time, we will have the capacity to connect Human Resource Management Systems and smoke out ghost workers once and for all. This is transformation,” said the Malawi leader.
The project is supposed to be implemented in six months.