Malawi and Zambia Sign Data Corridor and Digital Divide Agreement
Malawi and Zambia have recently entered into a diplomatic data corridor agreement and a government-to-government memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the aim of bridging the digital divide and establishing an affordable digital market.
The agreements, which were signed in Lilongwe on Thursday, will facilitate access to more affordable Internet services, made possible through collaboration between the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) and Fibrecom of Zambia.
Moses Kunkuyu, the Minister of Information and Digitisation, emphasized that these agreements will empower Malawians to seize opportunities arising from reduced data costs. He pointed out that due to being a landlocked country, Malawi faces high Internet charges due to the expensive undersea cables used to obtain data, with these costs ultimately being transferred to consumers.
Kunkuyu stated, “The primary goal is to decrease data expenses. The signing of these agreements will lead to a decrease in data landing costs within the country, enabling Malawians to access the Internet across various fields.”
Felix Mutati, the Minister of Technology and Science of Zambia, emphasized the significance of connecting Africa for economic growth and expanded opportunities. He highlighted, “The Internet serves as the lifeblood that revolutionizes business operations, and cost has been a major obstacle in accessing the Internet. We are now dismantling this barrier.”
Daudi Suleman, the director general of the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority, expressed optimism about reducing data expenses in Malawi. He mentioned, “Our current wholesale price is around $8 per gigabyte. Once we establish full interconnections, our target is to achieve a price point of $3 per gigabyte, representing nearly a 200 percent reduction. This is the direction we are working towards.”
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