Malawi, China look to digital technologies

China

China, the globe's second largest economy, has said Malawi stands to grow its socio-economic sector quickly if the Southern African country consider making serious investments in digital technology.

Though still an emerging sector in the region, digital technologies -also encompassing Information and communication technology, looks more of a viable option to unlock Malawi's economic potential; a move that can help grow the country's prospects for foreign investment.

Chinese Ambassador to Malawi Long Zhoe was speaking in Lilongwe on Tussday during the launch of this year's 'Seeds of the Future' Programme; an annual corporate social responsibility initiative by Chinese giant Huawei Technologies.

Zhoe said digital economy is the in-form thing right now and that no nation should be left behind in embracing the same if it is to competently remain relevant to the global economy.

"At the same time, no nation can go it alone. Collaboration remains key and this explains why China is, and will remain committed to help Malawi develop its digitalisation sector. The youth are key to this, hence the need to train them in relevant knowledge and skills," he said.

Through the initiative, Huawei Technologies is training100 students from eight various institutions of higher learning in Malawi in advanced ICT, including the highly rated artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing and database.

China has since pledged continued collaboration and support to Malawi on the sector; adding the giant from the East plans to bring in more investors in ICT; according to Zhoe.

In his remarks, Minister of Information and Technology Gospel Kazako concurred with Zhoe on the need to build the country's digitalisation sector so it keeps pace with the developed world around it. 

"Most importantly," said Kazako, "we need to realise that no foreign hands ably develop a nation whose peoples are less interested in building it themselves. This is why we feel we need to sensitise the nation on digitalisation and also train a lot of youths to help keep the technologies sustainable."  

In a show of serious commitment to growing the sector, Kazako revealed Malawi was already developing a curriculum on digital studies targeting learners in both primary and secondary schools.

Felistus Kampala, a student at Malawi Institute of Management in the Capital Lilongwe, expressed her excitement in being shortlisted for this year's training which has doubled its beneficiaries from the 50 Huawei Technologies trained last year. 

"It's actually thrilling, so to speak. I find the exposure we are getting from this boot camp in digital technology is just priceless. 

"Meeting our colleagues from various universities not only adds gloss to it but has also created new channels of collaboration which we understand remains key to unlocking new grounds in digitalisation in Malawi. Thank you Huawei," she said.

The intervention by Huawei Technologies can be called as timely as responsive ahead of Malawi's aspirations of achieving its national development blueprint, Vision 2063.

The organisation's Managing Director Gu Mu, who pledged continued support to Malawi in the sector, also hailed Malawi for its commitment to consolidate ICT development. 

He has since pledgd continued collaboration between Huawei and Malawi for mutual benefits to the two partners. 

The 2022 _Seeds of the  Future _Programme comes just a few months after Huawei Technologies also commissioned Malawi's first ever data centre in the country's commercial capital of Blantyre. 

When launching the facility in July this year, President Lazarus Chakwera called for concerted efforts to ensure the centre helps the country better manage and secure data, saying it is critical in decision making.