Information and Communications Technology Association of Malawi (Ictam) has said it is developing a strategic plan to improve the operations of the association in the next five years.
As part of the consultation process, Ictam on Friday convened a stakeholders’ meeting in Blantyre to solicit input from players in the industry on what should be contained in the plan.
Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, Ictam president Wisely Phiri said being a relatively new committee, they courted ICT decision makers to brief them on what they have done so far and to seek their input going forward.
He said they were overwhelmed by the response.
Phiri said, among other things, Ictam briefed the stakeholders on the role it played in giving government advice on the Communications Bill and creation of the body’s website.
“We will also hold similar meetings in Lilongwe and Mzuzu and then we will produce a calendar of events. We expect stakeholders to give their input,” he said.
Phiri said Ictam will host a national conference on ICT for development in August this year where issues to be tackled will include how to advance ICT and how best to reduce Internet charges, which are on the higher side.
“There are local companies that are charging ICT services in foreign currency [dollars] and we want to see if we can find a win-win solution to that,” he said.
Phiri said the body’s strategic objectives include promoting the development of the ICT community, representing all areas of the ICT community either directly or through relevant associations and to act as a collective and collaborative voice providing a unified policy forum at the national level.
“We would like to promote the growth and betterment of the ICT community through facilitating education, training, business clustering, partnering and mentoring, including developing a global awareness of the Malawian ICT community to assist export development,” he said.
One of the delegates to the conference, Alamicha Chapuma, who is systems infrastructure engineer at Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE)-listed conglomerate Press Corporation Limited (PCL), said he was impressed that Ictam is moving in the right direction.
“The fact that we now have a secretariat in place and that they are also able to present the interests of the ICT industry in Parliament is encouraging,” he said.
Chapuma said he expects Ictam to have a listening ear to key stakeholders and also represent the interests of the wider membership. n