Vice-President Saulos Chilima has bemoaned the tendency by some Malawians to use the Internet as a tool to destroy others.
The Veep said this on Saturday when he opened the Information and Communications and Technology Association of Malawi (Ictam) innovations forum at Sunbird Nkopola Lodge in Mangochi.
“Today, the world is discussing drones and the amazing Uber services, among other innovations, [unfortunately] here we are busy wearing ‘zigoba’ [masks] on social media to destroy others. What a way to embrace technology!” he bemoaned, drawing applause from the turnout.
Chilima said one of the things that ICT advancement brings is cost efficiency, adding that it can also drastically reduce cost of public service delivery in many aspects.
“However, just like other African countries, we are not moving at the desired speed to reap the benefits. Connectivity is limited by costs for devices and data, thereby putting access out of reach for the poor,” he said.
Chilima said the role of ICT in economic development cannot be over emphasised, adding that it can also be used as a tool to prevent corruption as it reduces direct interface between a service seeker and provider, citing the Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) as an example.
He said it was pleasing that the forum brought together ICT professionals from different sectors to share knowledge and experiences.
Ictam president Wisely Phiri said the aim of the forum is to bridge the gap between academia, private sector and government.
“Sitting down here gives us an opportunity to discuss how we can assist government in the ICT sector and also how we can make money from the government-initiated fibre backbone.
“Most of the companies are getting data from outside the country and this is the ideal forum where we can come up with applications,” he said.
Phiri said the forum provides platform to engage policymakers and influence change.
During the event, Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) won the most innovative public sector award, TNM Plc got the innovative mobile network operator award and FDH Bank won the financial category award whereas Baobab Health was named the most innovative in the health sector. n