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Malawi launches US$23m fibre backbone project

Malawi launches USm fibre backbone project

Malawian President Peter Mutharika has launched the country's US$23 million national fibre backbone project.

The project will be implemented by Huawei Technologies and ESCOM (Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi) across the country's 28 districts and seeks to integrate government operating systems, increase internet access and address mobile communication challenges - particularly within rural areas.

The optic fibre cables will be deployed on ESCOM power transmission lines.

Mutharika said the project will lead to enhanced connected and overall efficiency of Integrated Financial Management and Information System (IFMIS), Human Resource Management Information System (HRMIS), and the Immigration and National Registration and Identification System.

"Malawi will have improved delivery of services as various government offices will now be connected to an information super highway. Civil servants salaries will no longer be delayed as everything will be done with much speed," Mutharika said.

The Minister of Information and Communications Technology Nicholas Dausi added, "Mobile phone and internet connectivity challenges facing most districts in the country will be minimised in some areas and will long longer exist in most rural areas and towns because of the project."

According to the 2016 report by BuddeComm research, Malawi's internet sector has 50 internet service providers, but limited availability and the high cost of international bandwidth has stifled growth and kept broadband access prices high.

Malawi's market penetration rate for internet users stands at 6.8%, while that of mobile phone users stands at 38.3%, according to the report.

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