The ICT Association of Malawi (Ictam) is set to hold International ICT Expo in August this year which will attract experts in Malawi and beyond to deliberate on how the information, communication and technology services can be promoted and made affordable to achieve universal access.
Ictam first inaugurated the ICT Expo in 2019 to create a market place for stakeholders to showcase various ICT developments as well as spearheading critical conversations that will influence policy in as far as ICT development issues are concerned.
Ictam president Bram Fudzulani said on Wednesday that they could not hold the second expo in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said this year’s expo theme is Mobilising Businesses with Digital Technologies Beyond the Covid-19 Crisis, which was selected looking at the state of the country’s status in the wake of the pandemic.
Said Fudzulani: “As the theme suggests, our main goal is to mobilise businesses with digital tools looking beyond the pandemic and we believe this will help us as a country to take stock of technologies that have worked during the pandemic.
“While at the same time showcasing such technologies and make recommendations on policies that can help us move forward with the current digital transformation.”
The International ICT Expo is scheduled to take place from the 25 to 27 August in Lilongwe at Bingu International Convention Centre.
Fudzulani said the conference targets both businesses, government officials, academia, donor organisations, students and the end users who are the consumers of technology products and services.
He said Malawi is on the right track in terms of the key developments with milestone projects like the Digital Malawi, which he believes will transform the face of ICT in the country.
“The National Planning Commission has drafted the Digital Malawi Strategy, it is a beautiful document and if we follow through on the outlined plans in it, Malawi will be transformed in the matters of ICT development,” he said.
Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority recently assured the nation that it was discussing with service providers to reduce ICT services charges, including Internet costs.
“The telecommunications authority would like to assure the public that it is committed to ensuring that services delivered are affordable and of good quality,” read the statement in part.
Recently, mobile phone service providers reduced Internet data tariff is by at least 30 percent at entry level of one gigabyte (1GB) volume bundle.
In August last year, mobile network operators reduced pay-as-you-go or out of bundle rates from an average K20 to K5 per megabyte following an intervention from the Ministry of Information.
Malawians have been advocating for reduced data rates through a social media campaign championed by Ictam dubbed DataMustFall.
Consumers Association of Malawi executive director John Kapito described the country’s high costs of ICT services as deterrent to consumers who are already struggling financially with the impact of Covid-19.