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Malawi grows influence on telecommunications in Sadc

Malawi has seen its influence grow in Sadc as it is leading a team from the regional bloc on discussions at the International Telecommunication Union 15th World Radio Congress (WRC-15) currently underway in Geneva, Switzerland.

The meeting is expected to generate agreements in such areas as the identification of spectrum for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) services that will serve most of the growing needs for mobile communications.

The conference is also expected to protect existing services namely broadcasting that is in the process of migrating from analogue to digital, simplify the regulatory procedures for satellite networks, among other things.

Speaking in an interview on the sidelines of the conference, Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) Director of Telecommunications, Lyold Momba, said Malawi initially assumed the chairmanship because the country chaired the grouping three years ago.

“Basically, the preparations for the World Radio Communication Conference are done on national, sub-regional (Sadc), regional (Africa) and global (ITU) level in order to harmonize the requirements for spectrum identification and/or allocation within the framework of the ITU. In this regard, the preparatory meetings for WRC-15 started around 2013 for the Sadc sub-region and a total of five meetings were held before the start of the conference.

“As is the norm, chairing of the preparatory work is handled within the Sadc group and Malawi was chosen to chair the preparatory work as part of their role during the tenure of Malawi Sadc Chairmanship.

He said the role of the Sadc Chair for WRC-15 is to coordinate the Sadc sub-regional positions on all agenda items and try to align the same to other sub-regional groups i.e. Ecowas, Eaco within the framework of Africa Telecommunications Union (Atu) that coordinates the issues of all African countries at the global level.

Momba said in terms of the sector in Malawi, it is expected that the resolutions of the meeting, to be contained in the Final Acts of the conference, will provide an impetus to grow the sector.

Among the resolutions of the meeting, expected to end on November 27, include the promotion of universal access by allowing the expansion of services to rural and under-served areas.

“From the discussions so far, the meeting is expected to come up with agreements especially with respect to the identification of spectrum for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) services that will serve most of the growing needs for mobile communications.

The resolutions will also favour the aspect of promoting universal access by allowing the expansion of services to rural and under-served areas thereby bridging the so called “digital divide” between rural and urban areas as well as between developed and developing countries,” he said.

The Malawi delegation to the conference is led by Ministry of Information Principal Secretary Justin Saidi.

Other members are the Office of the President and Cabinet Principal Secretary (administration) Clement Chinthu Phiri, Macra Deputy Director General Francis Bisika and Momba.

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