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ICT experts meet in Geneva

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The annual World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum is underway in Geneva, Switzerland, where the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) community has gathered to strengthen the alignment of WSIS action lines and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

WSIS Forum provides an opportunity for information exchange, knowledge creation and sharing of best practices, while identifying emerging trends and fostering partnerships, taking into account the evolving information and knowledge societies.

Responding to questions during a high-level policy session on Malawi’s efforts towards attainment of SDGs through the use of ICT services, Director of Telecommunications for the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra), Henry Silika, who was one of the panellists, said the country has embarked on a number of initiatives that are aimed at bridging the digital divide.

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“We will soon implement the Universal Access Fund (UAF) which is aimed at deploying ICT infrastructure in the rural and underserved areas so that we can connect the unconnected,” he said.

Another initiative, according to Silika, is the establishment of innovation hubs to promote creativity and tech entrepreneurship, especially among the youth.

He says Malawi will also continue to facilitate the establishment of telecentres aimed at connecting various communities in both rural and urban areas.

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Under the same initiative, he says, secondary schools and teachers training colleges are going to be targeted for the establishment of school computer laboratories.

“An interesting development is the provision of computers and internet connectivity in all national libraries where a repository of books and other educational materials will be accessed online,” he said.

Silika also informed the gathering about the enactment of the Electronic Transactions Management Act which will allow the country to fight cyber threats and instil confidence in users of the cyber space.

He also pointed out that Malawi has embarked on Smart City Initiatives where ICT will be integrated in service delivery in major cities.

After the session, a number of stakeholders showed interest in partnering with Malawi to help the country achieve the implementation of some of its initiatives.

Other discussions will centre on global mechanism for follow-ups and review of the implementation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

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