Fraud discouraging tech uptake in Malawi-ICTAM

ICTAM awards event in Lilongwe

Of late there have been reported cases of people scammed through the use of cellphones with over 90 percent cases of mobile money fraudulent transactions emanating from and connected to the Zomba Maximum security Prison.

ICT Association of Malawi (ICTAM) President Clarence Gama says these cases which have seen people being scammed through mobile phones are negatively affecting the uptake of technology in the country.

Speaking during a Corporate Awards ceremony for outstanding performers in the ICT industry, he described the just ended ICT Expose as a success looking at the participation and valuable contributions made during the conference.

 “The people that are discouraging uptake of technology are these fraudsters and in one of the presentations, the presenter mentioned to say in fact the attempts to defraud people keep increasing; however the actual incidents where people have been defrauded we are seeing a reduction on that.

“So that’s a positive development and we are aiming that while there all these challenges, we should still push for more uptake of technology”.

Gama (L): We should still push for more uptake of technology

He reiterated the Association’s plans to have ICT regulation hinting they are working towards ensuring they have the right mandate to execute and influence decision-making in the country.

“The ICT sector needs the regulation so that we are able to efficiently serve Malawians and that we are also effectively able to hold the practitioners accountable accordingly and also they are able to deliver to Malawians as expected”.

Principal Secretary for E-government Francis Bisika underscored the need for the ICT industry to be properly regulated to instill discipline which will define code of ethics and conduct and disclosed plans to take a Bill to Parliament on the same to bring sanity.

Bisika pledged government’s continued partnership with ICTAM in driving advancements in the sector.

During the event, Dr. Harry Gombachika, Chief Executive officer for Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) since January 2015 who also served as General Manager Responsible for Telecoms at Press Corporation Ltd received a Lifetime achiever award in ICT.

He holds a PHD in Telecommunication Engineering from the University of Surrey (UK) and an MSc in Electrical Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

The Lifetime achiever award recipient captured with his wife during the event

Gombachika described it as an honor to be given the lifetime achiever award owing to contributions he made as part of a team and on individual level in the ICT sector.

He started way back after graduating from the university where he joined the University of Malawi, has trained telecom engineers who are now working in various fields.

The Lifetime award recipient noted that every technology when introduced has positives and negatives and that sometimes people don’t accept because they are not ready for the features associated with it.

“Let me assure that the guys behind it are working in such a way that we protect those that are on the cyber space starting from the regulation point of view; like the regulator is coming up with the legislations that will protect the public on cyber, but even the technocrats also put up features in the system so that anything that is not acceptable, is recognized and removed from the cyber space.

“On the contrally there are others who have the view that in the era of democracy, we should not be censoring people, so those are the things that we need to handle. But I think the society is the best jury; they can decide what is best for them and once that is achieved, we can implement them through legislation or through technology.

According to Gombachika, when technology was coming, the only means of communication was the fixed telephone but over time, new developments have emerged with many people having cellphones in their homes.

The award recipients pose in a group photograph. Pics courtesy of ICTAM

 “We saw people spending substantive portion of their money to invest in telecommunications and you can see the outcome of that now, a mobile phone is part of an accessory for everyone and where we are going, it has to be a necessity to everyone”

The ICT firm of the year went to SPARC Systems Limited while National Bank of Malawi Plc. got the Digital banking award.

The Tech start-up company of the year was NxTGEN and TNM got the Internet Connectivity award.

NICO Life received the Digital insurance award while Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) scooped the Digital public service award and Alonda app got the Innovative tech solution award.