Chimwemwe Padatha

Chimwemwe Padatha

Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) Director General Daudi Suleiman has noted that Malawi’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has stagnated for long, raising the need to shift to other sectors like technology.

In his remarks during the opening of a Cyber Security Conference for Academia in Lilongwe, Suleiman attributed the slow growth to low production.

He made reference to the continued reliance on the country’s green gold (Tobacco) as a major export and forex earner as one contributing factor.

“Our GDP is very small and not responding to current needs. Technology has the potential to compliment the country’s agro-based economy,” said Suleiman.

Suleiman hinted on a number of issues being undertaken by MACRA that include lobbying for Zero-Rating of education websites and pursuing the Data Must Fall Campaign.

Chief Executive Officer for Malawi Research and Education Network Solomon Ndindi called on government to strive at creating a conducive environment for a thriving cyber space.

Said Ndindi; “We have a direct role to play to make sure that the traffic passing through our network is secure enough. Attacks should be sent back and at the same time. We need to work with universities, to make sure that they protect themselves, as you know that sometimes the enemy is within.”

The Malawi 2063 envisions creating a robust ICT infrastructure with cross-country coverage of reliable and affordable services fostering technological adoption and digital access.

Non-Revenue Water Cost Billions

The amount of water which the country is losing across all water boards, before it reaches consumers (Non-Revenue Water) has slightly increased from 35% last year, to 39% this year, officials have revealed.

The loss translates to MK60 billion total annual revenue that the country’s water boards are failing to realise.

Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) alone according to the institution’s Chief Executive Officer, Silli Mbewe loses MK15 billion Kwacha annually, a majority of this through leaked pipes, theft and illegal connections.

“We have two major causes, physical and commercial losses, we are losing more water from the physical loss and these are pipe breakages and vandalism,” said Mbewe.

Mbewe further revealed that, through the Strengthening the Capacity of Non-Revenue Water Reduction for Lilongwe Water Board project (LiSCap), LWB intends to strengthen institution and human capacity to sustain interventions towards abating the vice.

Image: Sili Mbewe

LWB on Wednesday held a 9th Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC) for the project which brought together officials from all the water boards to explore better ways of dealing with the problem.

Director for Water Supply Services at the ministry of Water and Sanitation, Prince Mleta asked the water boards to invest in water supply systems as he said this is key to achieving development.

“Issues of non-revenue water are very well connected with initiatives that Government is taking, because we are using so much resources to clean the water to make sure that we are suppling the customers. So we are in line with the policy of sustainable goal number six, but also the Malawi 2063 development agenda,” Mleta said.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is an implementing partner for the project and its Chief Representative, Kazuhiro Tambala is hoping that through the project, Malawi will see a reduction in non-revenue water.

Said Tambala; “We work together in the formulation of strategic plan to reduce non-revenue water, as well as actual ground to find ways of how to solve the problem.”

LiSCap was designed to enhance capacity for NRW reduction management for LWB an reduce improve the efficiency of water-use in the city of Lilongwe.

Police have arrested a 59-year-old Nigerian woman, Annie Uzoigwe for allegedly being found in possession of 48 000 US dollars (about MK52 million Kwacha).

Deputy National Police Spokesperson, Alfred Chimthere has told Zodiak today that, the woman was intercepted at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe.

Chimthere said Uzoigwe will answer three charges of attempting to externalize forex, uttering force documents and illegal possession of forex.

“Our officers managed to arrest her, after discovering that she had fake receipts, for her 10 000 US dollars,” said Chimthere.

A report by the United Nations Development Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has called on African leaders to champion the diversification of supply chains.

Titled “The Potential of Africa to Capture Technology-Intensive Global Supply Chains” UNCTAD in the report notes that Africa has potential to build resilience of supply chains due to a number of factors that include, presence of natural resources.

It however cites that, despite boasting an abundant supply of raw materials, most African nations are failing to utilize existing resources.

UNCTAD has made several suggestions on how African nations could leverage their strengths.

Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS) economist, Dr Betchani Tcheleni agrees with the findings of the report.

“We are not getting action, action-oriented leadership is missing especially  here in Malawi. It is so sad to the extent that, we are exporting raw minerals like coal,” said Tcheleni.

In 2009, the African union put forward the Africa Mining Vision to ensure that Africa utilizes its mineral resources, a sector the report notes is slowly being implemented.
In the MW2063 development blueprint, private sector dynamism and industrialization are among key enablers.

National Planning Commission’s Communications Manager Thom Khanje said realizing the vision demands Malawi to produce more.

Khanje said; “The pillars focus on the importance of production and business to the growth of the economy and realization of the Malawi 2063 vision, findings of the report resonate with this vision.”

Minister of Trade and Industry, Simplex Chitchyola Banda is optimistic that strategies initiated by Government on value addition will spur growth of the economy.

“We are promoting special economic zones where we are developing industrial parks to do value additions,” he said.

Malawi is a net importer but a meagre percentage of her exports are concentrated in the green gold (tobacco) which is mostly exported raw.

Protection of sources and whistleblowers appears to be a mammoth task in most countries.

For close to two hours, President Lazarus Chakwera dwelled on key pillars of his vision for Malawi in the next 12 months, in what appeared to be a litmus test for the Tonse Alliance government.

Zodiak has learnt that Malawi is losing about two billion kwacha annually due to delays to approve resident and employment permit requests by foreigner nationals seeking authorization to stay in the country.

A total of eight Malawians have been displaced following an earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday 6th February.

One more Malawian has died in South Africa after sustaining injuries from a Gas Tanker explosion that occurred on Christmas eve.

Seven inmates at Maula prison have tested positive for COVID19, about three months since the facility recorded cases.


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