Chartered Institute of Marketers (CIM) Malawi president Michael Khomani has described the Internet as an important tool for economic development in the modern world.
The CIM Malawi president made the remarks on Friday in Mangochi on the sidelines of the 2017 Marketers Lakeshore Conference held under the theme Internet of Things: Big Data Maximisation.
Khomani said as technology is advancing, business entities should capitalise on it as data generated is vital in understanding customer preferences and giving insight to customers.
He said: “The data is there, but how much we are using it to reach out to the customer in the most effective way depends on us.
“Internet is a platform for doing business. All companies have websites and our customers spend most of their time on the Internet and what they are looking for are products and services and price comparisons.”
In his remarks, Sparc Systems Limited managing director Wisely Phiri said Malawi should continue to make strides to improve the information and communications technology environment by ensuring collaboration between government, as the policy maker, and the private sector as the investor.
“In Malawi, for example, there is someone in the village who is growing tobacco and has to know how much tobacco is fetching on the market. So, when we talk about Internet of things, you can analyse the patterns so that people make informed decisions,” he said.
Internet and mobile phone services were first introduced in Malawi in the late 1990s, but the impact has been limited for most Malawians compared to other sub-Saharan Africa countries.
Studies have shown that penetration rates for Internet and digital media tools in Malawi remain below average for the region due to poor infrastructure and high cost of access.
Malawi also ranks 168 out of 175 economies on the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), signalling high Internet tariffs. n