World Bank loans Malawi $72.4 million


The World Bank on Monday gave Malawi a $72.4 million (about K52.85 billion) International Development Association credit to help the country build the digital foundations needed to help the country connect to the global digital economy.

The loan comes barely days after the Brettonwoods institution extended a $95 million facility for commercialisation of Malawi’s agriculture sector.

The Malawi Digital Foundations Project, which is Phase I of the Digital Malawi Programme, will significantly expand access to the internet by making it more affordable, reliable and available in all parts of the country.


It also includes support for building the necessary infrastructure and skills for the government to scale up its online public service offerings.

The project will leverage significant private sector infrastructure investment and support regulatory and policy measures aimed at increasing competitiveness, quality and affordability of internet services in Malawi.

Leveraging private investment and digital technology to streamline operations is expected to lead to significant cost savings for the government. The project will also help move government procurement online to help increase transparency and efficiency.


Malawi ranks poorly compared to its peers in the development of its market for telecommunications and other digital services and this is preventing the country from achieving wider digital dividends.

The country is ranked 168 out of 175 countries in the 2016 edition of the International Telecommunication Union’s Global ICT Development Index.

World Bank Country Manager for Malawi Laura Kullenberg said in a statement that digital technology is essential to Malawi’s socio-economic development.

“Across the world, communications, commerce and services are moving online. Malawi cannot afford to be left behind,” Kullenberg said.

She added that digital technology is a powerful enabler as it opens up opportunities since an investment in ICT is also an investment in economic growth, jobs, education, health, agriculture and good governance.

“With ICT, a student in a remote village can get access to the same educational content as the one in the capital city and that is where Malawi needs to be,” she said.

Minister of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Nicholas Dausi said the project assures Malawi of a better digital future–using technology to modernise government operations, enabling citizens to access public services and information online from any corner of the country and preparing today’s youths with the digital skills needed for the jobs of tomorrow.

Implementation of the project will be led by the Public Private Partnership Commission. Other key partners include the Ministry of ICT and the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority.

The project is expected to close in 2022.

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