Digital economy crucial for Malawi's attainment of development goals-Govt

Information Minister and Huawei MD Zhang Bin

Information Minister Gospel Kazako has described the involvement of the Malawi's youth in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a catalyst for development in the country’s attainment of its development goals.

Speaking in Lilongwe during the Malawi Seeds for the future opening ceremony in Lilongwe, the Minister hailed Huawei Company for its role in fostering inclusive development in the sector.

Seed for the future is an eight day programme which enables Malawian students to obtain valuable cutting edge ICT knowledge developed by Huawei headquarters and experience a cross cultural communication virtually.

Kazako stated that MW2063 is basically about the youth who need to be equipped for them to become active participants who understand that Malawi cannot achieve her development agenda without ICT.

He explained that ICT has to be human driven and in this case the provisions coming from the youth who are the new generation and understand what government wants to achieve.

“We’re being part and parcel of building their world. We are being part and parcel of helping them obtain the Malawi that will be there in 2063 of course we’ll be checking to see if we’ve been making progress after 10 years from now. You know the President just launched the 10 year plan; but we’re looking at 2063. So ICT is very very crucial.

Some of the participants under the Seed for the future

“Even now we’re talking of a digital economy and everything will have to be digitalized if we’re to move. This is the fourth industrial revolution and Malawi was absent during the first revolution; Malawi was nowhere to be seen during the second industrial revolution and it was almost quite no- existent during the third. This is the fourth, at least we are aware we have a government that is aware that knows what’s happening, knows ICT is going to breed and make us build and obtain the Malawi that we want.”

“Technology is another huge big elephant in the corner of the room; it just takes one or two innovations and billions will be coming to Malawi and it will be different. That aside, if we are to move forward and achieve what we can achieve we cannot afford to ignore ICT. ICT is the future” explained Kazako

He observed that youths need to take a lead while government’s duty is to provide a conducive environment for them to operate.

Previously the youths were taken to China to study ICT languages with technical experts and given certificates on online education.

They also visited historical sites in China and shared Malawian culture with their counterparts.

The youths pose in a group photograph with Information Minister 

Chinese Ambassador to Malawi Liu Hong Yang hailed Huawei for organizing the trip for the youths who are the country’s greatest resource and future as they represent over 70 percent of Malawi’s population.

He spoke on the importance of the programme to the Malawian job market noting that investing in ICT brings economic benefits.

The Envoy cited China which moved from being one of the poorest to the second top most industrialized countries which he attributed to innovations in ICT.

A youth representative under the Seeds for the future 2019 cohort Annie Gwaza, described the experience as rewarding and an eye opener.

 “We learnt about configuring 4G base station and a 5G base station which we don’t have 5G in Malawi. We have 4G and to actually be able to configure 5G base station under Huawei, it was actually a great experience that we had. The food was actually amazing they have a big diversity of food.

Gwaza: Described the experience as rewarding and an eye-opener 

“Another thing was about the language; we actually had to learn their language, we received certificates as well. We also received certificates for learning how to configure 4G base stations to 5G base stations” she disclosed.

She appealed to more youths to utilize these courses and use it in their everyday undertakings as this opens their job opportunities.

Huawei Managing Director Zhang Bin said developed countries like China reached where it is today because of ICT

Bin: Increased the students intake to 50

He stated that they embarked on the initiative to develop Malawi and every year they target the students to study in China except for the past two years.

“Unfortunately these two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it wasn’t possible. But we increased our students to fifty to support more students to acquire new technologies and whether they go to China or not, the technology is the same. Hopefully we want more students to get the latest technologies”