Ministry of Information, Communications Technology and Civic Education has said government is working towards reshaping the country into a knowledge-based economy and information-rich society in keeping with global trends.
Speaking on the sidelines of a workshop on Child Online Safety in Lilongwe on Monday, the minister responsible Patricia Kaliati said government is convinced that the country’s progress could be accelerated if its citizens and systems embrace and participate meaningfully in the information society.
The workshop has been organised to provide a platform to African countries to share experiences, strengthen their knowledge and raise awareness on children and youth safety in digital inclusion through a multi-stakeholders approach.
Said Kaliati: “The ICT [information and communication technology] revolution is actually here. ICT has emerged as a powerful instrument set to define global economic developments now and in the future.
“The Malawi Government sees ICT as critical in human capital development, infrastructure development, enhancement of national security, promotion of international cooperation and key to blossoming of national priority growth sectors of agriculture, tourism and mining.”
She said to harness the potential of ICT and ensure good governance of the sector, government has put in place regulatory and legislative frameworks in the form of the communications sector policy, the digital broadband policy, the science and technology policy and the national ICT policy, among others.
Malawi Communication and Regulatory Authority (Macra) board chairperson Mervis Mangulenje agreed with Kaliati that cybercrime has become a fast-growing area of crime as more criminals exploit the speed, convenience and anonymity of the Internet to commit all sorts of criminal activities.
“These criminal activities know no borders, either physical or virtual. This is the world we find ourselves in and the reality is that we cannot stop our children from going online considering the hard truth that ICT is here to revolutionise the communication sphere,” she said.
International Telecommunications Union (ITU) area representative Chali Tumelo said the fast development of ICT connectivity and access in the world, combined with more and earlier age exposure to new technologies and devices such as smart phones, tablets, television games can harm children if not properly handled.
“Digital inclusion of children is part of a global agenda to empower children and the youth by increasing their digital skills, knowledge and creativity through the instructive and responsibly use of ICT and related services,” she said.