DIGMAP progress impresses World Bank, Minister

Kunkuyu, the World Bank team, and other government officials pose for a photo after the meeting

The World Bank has expressed satisfaction with the significant progress achieved under the Digital Malawi Project (DIGMAP) during an interface meeting with the Minister of Information and Digitalization Moses Kunkuyu in Lilongwe.

The international financial institution has been funding the US$72.4 million DIGMAP from June 2017 to June 2024 to support Malawi’s digital transformation across its economy, society, and government sectors. The Project is being implemented by the Public Private Partnership (PPPC).

Speaking during the meeting, the World Bank Team Task Leader for DIGMAP Tim Kelly commended the project’s milestones, highlighting the construction of the National Data Centre and the installation of high-speed optic fiber cables to provide reliable internet connectivity to over 500 MDAs, including hospitals, primary, and secondary schools nationwide.

Kelly (L): Put in place a sustainability plan

“We have all the good reasons to cheer the Project Implementation Unit (PIU) for the progress that the Project has accomplished. It’s gratifying to see tangible results after six years of project implementation,” remarked Kelly.

He then urged the Malawi Government to put in place a sustainability plan to guide activities post-project closure in June 2024. 

On his part, the Minister of Information and Digitalization Moses Kunkuyu echoed the World Bank’s sentiments, reaffirming the government’s commitment to realizing Malawi’s 2063 digitalization agenda.

He hinted at the government’s plan to sustain project activities through the formulation and implementation of a sustainability plan, pending resource allocation. 

Kunkuyu: We are committed

Additionally, Kunkuyu said that the government will transform the Department of eGovernment in his ministry into a standalone institution stressing the need to enhance the performance of the department through human capacity development.

The Minister then lauded the World Bank for financing the Project before concluding his remarks by reaffirming the government’s commitment to ensuring that the DIGMAP meets its deadline.

Chipping in, PPPC Chief Executive Officer Patrick Kabambe assured delegates of the Commission’s commitment to meeting the project’s deadline.

Optimistic: Kabambe

He emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts from all stakeholders for the smooth attainment of DIGMAP’s objectives.

Earlier, the World Bank Team also engaged with officials from beneficiary organizations such as the Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (MACRA), Malawi Research and Education Network (MAREN), Department of eGovernment, Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA), National Registration Bureau (NRB) and Innovation hubs.

DIGMAP developed and finalized the assented Data Protection Bill, designating MACRA as the Data Protection Authority.

The Project also supported MAREN with high-speed connectivity which has enhanced access to online academic content for more than 66 higher education institutions in the country.

Apart from capacitating NRB by developing data-sharing regulations and procuring computers, DIGMAP is also developing an Electronic Government Procurement System for the PPDA, aiming to automate public procurement processes for, among others, supplies, equipment, works, and services through a web interface or networked system.

Under the ‘Luntha ndi Chuma’ Digital Skills Development and Innovation Training Programme, DIGMAP has trained 16,413 youths, women, and the elderly across the country in Digital Skills, Mass ICT Literacy, and Entrepreneurship through grants to 9 Tech Hubs.