ICT Association of Malawi (ICTAM) has bemoaned challenges affecting the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) penetration as the organization plans to host first ever ICT innovation awards set for Nkopola Lodge in Mangochi over the weekend.
ICTAM is expected to hold the Malawi ICT Innovation Awards which are aimed at providing a platform for exposure for developing and emerging ICT brains.
Initially deadline for submissions for contesters was December 9th but has been extended to December 15th with awards to be held on December 17th. So far 35 contesters have submitted their innovations.
ICTAM president, Wisely Phiri said the awards will be preceded by presentations from contesters on Friday December 16th, and noted that the injection of ICT skills in the industry is facing challenges.
“There will be a panel of independent judges to select the winners. We would like to create a platform for innovators to expose their talent and for the industry to appreciate such innovations,” explained Phiri.
On ICT penetration levels, Phiri noted that there is a disconnection between students and the industry, saying “students are disconnected with industry realities, and are not getting the needed support. Skills are not injected into the industry.”
ICTAM General Secretary, Daud Suleiman said high illiteracy levels and high cost of ICT services were affecting the ICT penetration.
“There is a need for more areas especially the rural to be connected to essential ICT services. Several companies have managed to balance the landscape but still we have challenges in regards to ICT consumption,” said Suleiman.
The awards have no monetary gains but as Suleiman put it will expose raw ICT brains to the world thereby creating the needed experience and attract investment.
ICT Association of Malawi is a umbrella body for all ICT professionals in Malawi providing a link between the private sector, academia and government.