Malawi has unveiled a five-year Digital Economy Strategy aimed at massively boosting access to connectivity by 2026.
The strategy has been developed by Malawi’s National Planning Commission (NPC), with local outlet ITWeb reporting that it is aimed at increasing the percentage of Malawi’s population with internet access from the current level of 14% to 80%.
Another goal of the plan is to make internet access more affordable, and the government has outlined plans to phase out taxes including the 10% excise duty on purchasing data and SMS tariffs (introduced in July 2015) and the 3.5% revenue tax for ICT providers imposed by regulator MACRA (Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority).
The government has also pledged its intent to set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to construct a backbone network between Malawi’s capital Lilongwe and the city of Nacaroa in Mozambique.
Affordable internet access is a key goal of the Malawi 2063 initiative which the government is pushing as a means of expanding urbanisation and industrialisation in a way that preserves and protects the natural environment.