State Vice President Saulos Chilima has warned against the abuse of Information Communication (ICT) related services but utilise it to do develop the nation.
Chilima made the remarks after opening a two-day Information Communication Technology Association of Malawi (ICTAM) 2nd Innovation Forum at Sunbird Nkopola Lodge in Mangochi on Saturday.
He said ICT is a catalyst for knowledge generation and dissemination and that learning has become easy as a lot of information is available online.
“There are online education programs and information dissemination which can be done through the use of phones and internet. Mobile and internet banking, Mpamba, Zoona, Airtel money have accelerated business transaction, access to banking services. Africa and Malawi are largely consumers of technology and not producers. Forums like this need to find ways how ICT can leverage indigenous knowledge,” he said.
Chilima cited some local innovations that have not been modernised.
He observed that Africa and Malawi were largely consumers of foreign technology and not producers and it was high time forums like ICTAM began to work towards changing the scenario.
“We used to make car toys using clay soil or wires in our childhood days yet we are not able to translate that into real modern toys. Currently, Malawi still imports toys. We have used bottle tops and pieces of maize stalk or grass to make counters (mawerengero) but never turned that into something we can use in the modernized economic world,” he said.
Chilima added that factors hampering ICT strides in the country such as poor electricity supply and low literacy levels need to be discussed and addressed.
On the other hand, the Vice President bemoaned the abuse of innovations such as social media when elsewhere others were using it to make breakthroughs in various aspects of life.
He urged ICT innovators in the country to make innovations that are people-centered so that they benefit all Malawians including the local citizens living in rural areas and not just those in urban areas.
“The challenge is how to make a tobacco farmer in Dowa yearn to know more about tobacco production using the Internet. How to make a groundnut farmer in Kasungu want to learn more about groundnut production using Internet and how to make a livestock farmer in Chikwawa learn more about best animal husbandry practices using the Internet. As an Association, I leave this challenge with you,” said the Veep.
Chilima told the delegates that came from different companies and organisations that they were holding the future of the country.
“I repeat, therefore, that this forum is crucial and you are the people holding the fate of this country in as far as utilization of ICT as a tool for economic growth is concerned. So let us discuss ICT as a tool for economic or national development,” he said.
Earlier on ICTAM President, Wisely Phiri, was ironic and emotion when he made his speech.
“When we meet under the moon on a playground it doesn’t mean we do not have moons in our own backyard, We meet because it’s good for kinsmen to to meet and share ideas. Otherwise we would have sat in our own backyard”.
“ICTAM is the voice of the ICT sector in Malawi. We provide a bridge between the government, academia and the private sector in Malawi,” he said
Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) scooped the award as the most innovative public sector in the country while Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM), Baobab Health, and FDH Bank were recognized for their various innovations that have made most of their operations easier.
ICTAM also awarded Dr. Paulos Nyirenda, the Life Time Achiever Award owing to his immense contributions towards the development of ICT in Malawi over the years.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :