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Unicef, MTL partner in Poly innovations hub

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United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) for the support of the innovations hub at the Polytechnic of the University of Malawi.

Unicef has pumped in about K70 million to be used in a period of 18 months for the hub whilst MTL will be providing infrastructure and mentorship to young innovators at the hub.

Formalising the partnership on Tuesday, Unicef Malawi chief of operations, Pamela Oganga, said the innovations hub was opened with the intention to provide a platform for young people.

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She said the hub will also allow industry stakeholders, civil society and academia to interact and exchange ideas on innovations that will address local challenges through scaling up of some of the challenges.

“Over half of Malawi’s population is under the age of 18. It is one of the youngest populations in Africa with the potential to increase the country’s productive capacity and accelerate national development and economic growth,” said Oganga.

“There is certainly no shortage of ideas and with continued collaboration, we can bring positive change for children in the near future,” said Oganga.

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On his part, MTL chief executive officer, Harry Gombachika, said innovation should be part of every business strategy.

“First, the innovation hub is an open space or platform. We also believe MTL is an open platform. Our infrastructure is an open platform for physical networks and our network is an open platform for products and services,” he said.

“Secondly, the hub is a place for finding solutions to society problems. Similarly MTL has recently transformed its philosophy from being a provider of communication technologies to a provider of connectivity solutions for customer experience,” said Gombachika.

He said this has been achieved by shifting the focus of business from infrastructure to customer value propositions.

The Polytechnic vice principal, Nancy Chitera, said they are in the right direction to be a leading incubator for innovations in Malawi.

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