Malawi to benefit from Euro 15 million EU/ITU broadband mapping initiative

Malawi is amongst 11 sub-Saharan African countries that have been selected to benefit from initiative by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to implement national broadband mapping systems.

MACRA Director General, Daud Suleman (3rd from right) after receiving Malawi’s instruments of the AfricaBBMaps

This was announced during the ITU Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) currently underway in Kampala, Uganda being attended by Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA).


The bold and ambitious initiative, AfricaBBMaps, will see the countries — Malawi, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Benin, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Burundi — receiving €15 million over four years (2024-2027).


The announcement was witnessed by MACRA chairperson, Bridget Chibwana, who warmly embraced the initiative, noting its potential to propel Malawi’s ongoing efforts towards establishing substantial broadband connectivity.


Chibwana expressed her deep gratitude on behalf of Malawi, saying: “AfricaBBMaps is both a significant and opportune intervention that has the potential to bolster Malawi’s existing digital inclusion programs.

“I extend my heartfelt thanks to both the EU and ITU for choosing Malawi as a beneficiary country for the coming four years, a decision that we deeply appreciate.”


She added that AfricaBBMaps aims to establish broadband mapping systems that are capable of producing readily available validated data to identify internet connectivity gaps in coverage, quality and affordability in beneficiary countries.


This will enable data-driven decision-making for investments in digital infrastructure, promising a brighter future for ICT in Malawi.


“MACRA has just concluded a national telecommunications infrastructure audit to improve mobile network connectivity,” Chibwana said. “Insights from this audit will inform the development of the national mapping system under the AfricaBBMaps project.”


Malawi is a member state of ITU, a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for information and communication technologies (ICT).


ITU is committed to connecting all of the world’s people ensuring that everyone regardless of age, gender, ability, location or financial means have available, accessible and affordable access to ICTs, a commitment that provides reassurance for the future of ICT in Malawi.


Meanwhile, Malawi government, through MACRA, rolled out a strategic initiative for secondary schools to be provided with accessible and affordable access to ICT service — a project dubbed Connect A School (CAS).


MACRA is constructing state-of-the-art computer laboratories at the public schools to accord the young generation to be technologically savvy for them to advance in their academic studies.


Through CAS project, MACRA plans to construct state-of-the-art computer laboratories in 75 schools across the country to bridge the digital gap, as six million learners from government schools have no access to internet services.


It brings to life the National ICT Policy and aligns with the MW2063 national vision, which is youth-centric and puts digitalization at the heart of the nation’s transformation.


The project is being undertaken through the Universal Service Fund in which each laboratory would be provided with computers and connected to the internet for three years — which aligns well with government’s vision of providing students with the essential tools and skills needed to thrive in the digital era.


The beauty of the project is that it also concentrated on learners in rural taking cognizance that urban areas are progressing well with the ICT but those in rural areas have been denied access due to unavailability of resources.


Thus it aligns well with ITU’s commitment to connect all of the world’s people ensuring that everyone regardless of age, gender, ability, location or financial means have available, accessible and affordable access to ICTs.


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