Malawi President holds talks with Masiyiwa over provision of cheap internet

Farai Mudzingwa Avatar
Strive Masiyiwa, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Econet Group, DPA, Liquid Telecom, Econet Wireless

Malawi’s new President Lazarus Chakwera recently confirmed that he held talks with Zimbabwean billionaire Strive Masiyiwa regarding how the Malawian populace can get access to cheap internet.

I engaged Strive Masiyiwa of Econet Global about my resolve to see Malawi connected to the network of fiber technology by which other African countries are interconnected via high-speed and cheap internet and increasing financial transactions across borders.

Lazarus Chakwera

A week ago, Malawi’s President had complained that the cost of data in Malawi is prohibitive. Chakwera was speaking in regards to the Coronavirus pandemic when he noted that many would still be excluded from eLearning activity because of the cost of data;

even though a few private and international schools have introduced online platforms for learning, most of the models used have so far proven to be unsustainable.

Not only has the cost of data been prohibitive, but the lack of training and support for both parents and teachers to facilitate home-based education and guarantee a suitable learning environment for kids has unfairly burdened families with an approach more focused on completion of work than creating a dynamic learning experience that delivers robust learning outcomes

Whilst the President did not disclose what the outcome of those talks with the Econet Wireless’ Chairman it’s interesting to see him take an active interest in lowering data prices. This is not usually the norm with most other Presidents in the region.

Apart from internet issues, Chakwera also shared that his discussions with Masiyiwa also touched on the COVID-19 pandemic;

Since Strive is also the African Union’s Special Envoy on Africa’s Covid-19 Response, we also discussed at length the facilities and tools that my Administration will leverage for victory over the pandemic in the next few weeks

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  1. Gono

    Prez Chakwera has started on a very good note.Very practical, proactive and empathetic.Hopefully they seal a deal for the benefit of disadvantaged students.

  2. Muungani

    Such initiatives, will revolutionize the learning models in Africa and not only change the learning landscape but usher in a dynamic economic competitiveness since internet connectivity has become the driving pillar in all business initiatives.

  3. Mdulababy

    while this is very commendable but would it not have been more effective in the short to medium term to engage local service providers who already have a footprint in Malawi. He could have sort to understand why their services are expensive and how best as government can they assist. If this had not yielded positive results then he could have engaged Masiyiwa.

  4. Moses Mareya

    Very refreshing to see Africa’s newest president already tackling this very critical enabler to unlock the learning capability of the education sector as well as to enhance the telecommuting capability of the workforce for the new normal during & post CovID-19.