The Public Private Partnership Commission (PPPC) has branded the current installation and provision of internet connectivity and associated services to over 500 Government ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) across the country under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Connectivity initiative as a game-changer intervention for the effective implementation of the Malawi Vision 2063 Implementation Plan 1 (MIP1).
The Commission under the Digital Malawi Project (DIGMAP) with funding from the World Bank is implementing the PPP Connectivity initiative under the emblem ‘Government Wide Area Network (GWAN)’ for the next 10 years in partnership with the Ministry of Information and Digitalization, under a Public Private Partnership Arrangement.
The PPP Connectivity initiative aims to provide reliable internet connectivity services through high-speed optic fiber cables to MDAs including hospitals, primary and secondary schools nationwide.
Speaking in an interview on Monday, PPPC Chief Executive Officer Patrick Kabambe said the PPP Connectivity will play a crucial role in advancing the digitalization agenda stipulated in the Malawi 2063 and MIP 1.
He said: “The PPP Connectivity Initiative is one of the Digital Malawi Project’s flagship initiatives which marks the genesis of another extraordinary milestone in our effort as a country to expedite the Government’s digitalization drive agenda for effective delivery of public services in line with the Malawi 2063 Implementation Plan 1 (MIP1)”.
Kabambe added that the Government contracted with three firms: Bengol.Net Limited, DataCom Limited/Luna Technologies joint venture, and Inq. Digital Limited under a 5-lot arrangement to install and provide internet connectivity and associated services to over 500 public offices across the country for the next 10 years.
“Bengol.Net Limited is connecting 329 sites in the South and North, under Lots 1 and 3; 171 sites in Central Malawi are allotted to DataCom Limited/Luna Technologies joint venture under Lot 2; while an International Connectivity has been awarded to Inq. Digital Limited under lots 4 and 5”.
“We are also upgrading the core network infrastructure at Capital Hill. In addition, internet installation activities in more than 300 sites have been completed so far pending certification”, said Kabambe.
The internet connectivity is segmented into three networks: BOMA for all civil servants, NZIKA for all users, and GUEST for all visitors.
The BOMA Network encompasses intra-government traffic made up of Government applications such as the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS), Human Resource Management System (HRMS), and Malawi Traffic Information System (MALTIS), just to mention a few.
On the other hand, NZIKA and GUEST networks will allow users and visitors to access the Government domain for online services. However, the bandwidth will be capped to control access and resources.
Reacting to the development, Blantyre District Commissioner Alex Mdooko, one of the beneficiaries earmarked for the initiative, hailed the Government for fast-tracking the digitization agenda.
“The issue at stake is that we must move with time. Nowadays, it is all information and communication technology (ICT) and internet-based such that connectivity is one area that we require at any cost. So, it is a welcome development as it will improve the means of communication among Government offices, councils, and the public”, said Mdooka.
He then urged the Government to extend the initiative to other Government offices to improve internet connectivity.