(Ecofin Agency) - The Telecom penetration rate has declined in Malawi between 2019 and 2021, according to Hootsuite and We Are Social. With digital transformation at the heart of future economic development challenges, the country has revised its plans to densify network coverage.
The Republic of Malawi has adopted a universal telecommunications service strategy for the next five years. The plan was developed by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization (CTO) as part of the World Bank-funded Digital Malawi project.
“The drafting of the strategic plan means that over 720,000 Malawians will be connected to the broadband access and services, 1,300 institutions to Wi-Fi access, 470 institutions to electricity and over 94% of Malawians connected to a television signal,” explained Emily Lungu (pictured), Head of Universal Service Fund (USF) at MACRA- Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority.
As a reminder, in April 2019, Malawi's Public-Private Partnership Commission (PPPC) had hired CTO's expertise to develop a universal service framework. The goal was to improve the low telecom penetration, which constitutes a potential drag on the country's digital transformation. According to Hootsuite and We Are Social's Digital Report 2021, the mobile penetration rate was 42.7% in January, down 1.3 points from 2019.
In the report "MALAWI ECONOMIC MONITOR. June 2021. Investing in Digital Transformation," the World Bank estimates that investing in telecom infrastructure will enable Malawi to build a strong digital bedrock that will help improve productivity in various sectors such as agriculture.