Malawi is undertaking a massive fibre network project to connect more internet users in the country, thanks to a partnership between Huawei Technologies and the state-owned Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom).
The national fibre backbone project will see a dedicated investment of $23 million, with fibre implemented across 28 districts within the country, improving internet access and speeds while integrating government operating systems, according to NyasaTimes.
The technological upgrade is aimed at addressing mobile communication challenges in the country, and transitioning Malawi into the digital age.
The African country’s internet penetration rate is a lowly 6.8 percent, while that of mobile phone users was recorded at 38.3 percent, according to a recent report by BuddeComm.
This illustrates the great room for improvement in terms of access to broadband and internet services in a country with a population of around 17 million people.
Fibre network project to improve internet access
Chester Kabinda, Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi head of optic fibre communication, explained that the project would have additional benefits to society and governance.
“In addition to improving inter-connectivity, this project will also reduce corruption and theft within the government machinery as it will lead to enhanced connected and overall efficiency of Integrated Financial Management and Information System (IFMIS), Human Resources Management Information System (HRMIS), and the Immigration and National Registration and Identification System,” Kabinda said, according to ITWebAfrica.
Huawei, a Chinese smartphone manufacturer and ICT solutions firm, will implement the project on behalf of the Chinese government, with 300 new jobs created for Malawians during the implementation phase of the fibre network project.
The project will not be without some pitfalls, however, as the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi has warned Malawians that blackouts should be expected over the course of the next few months, as implementation requires power outages because optic fibre cables will be deployed on power transmission lines.
Sign up for the Moguldom newsletter — business news you need to know about economic empowerment for the digital age, delivered to your inbox.