Malawi’s President, Lazarus Chakwera, has announced the start of phase two of the country’s national fibre backbone project. Huawei Technologies is leading the project, which will include roughly 3,000 kilometres of fibre optic cable.
The project’s first phase, which Huawei undertook in collaboration with Malawi’s Electricity Supply Corporation, was finished in 2018 and included 28 districts. Malawi’s government spent US$23 million on the project and received a US$72,4 million loan from the World Bank through the International Development Association in 2017 to establish the digital foundations needed to connect to the global digital economy.
The Digital Malawi Foundations Project is the first phase of the Digital Malawi Program, which significantly increased internet connectivity. Apart from leveraging the financing to make the internet cheaper in Malawi, the project also provided help for the country’s government to develop the required infrastructure and capabilities to expand its online public service offerings.
The national fibre backbone project is critical to Malawi’s digital transformation. According to President Chakwera, the project is vital for Malawi’s economy, society, and government to be more technologically advanced. “This fibre backbone is an infrastructure that we need as a country to keep up with a world that is moving toward all things smart, a platform for enhancing our human capital by obtaining the skills demanded by the digital future we are entering, and an instrument for revolutionalising our governance by digitalising it for greater efficiency and effectiveness,” says Chakwera.
Liao Yong, vice president of Huawei Southern Africa, said the company is looking forward to launching the historical project to contribute to Malawi’s development. “Along with connecting cities, the project will also connect over 100,000 businesses and residences across the country,” Yong explained.