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Monday, 09 October 2017 08:44

Chilima for utilization of Indigenous Knowledge in ICT

Written by  Kondwani Magombo
Chilima presenting an ICT innovation award to TNM during the forum - Pic by Francis Mphweya Chilima presenting an ICT innovation award to TNM during the forum - Pic by Francis Mphweya

Mangochi, October 09, 2017: Vice President, Dr. Saulos Chilima, has challenged Information and Communication Technology (ICT) forums and innovators to utilize the vast Indigenous Knowledge (IK) Malawi has to propel the country’s social economic growth.    

The Veep made the remarks on Friday in Mangochi when he presided over the 2017 ICT Innovations Awards organized by the Information Communications Technology Association of Malawi (ICTAM).

He observed that Africa and Malawi were largely consumers of foreign technology and not producers and it was high time forums like ICTAM began to work towards changing the scenario.

“We used to make car toys using clay soil or wires in our childhood days yet we are not able to translate that into real modern toys. Currently, Malawi still imports toys. We have used bottle tops and pieces of maize stalk or grass to make counters (mawerengero) but never turned that into something we can use in the modernized economic world,” he said.

Chilima added that factors hampering ICT strides in the country such as poor electricity supply and low literacy levels need to be discussed and addressed.

On the other hand, the Vice President bemoaned the abuse of innovations such as social media when elsewhere others were using it to make breakthroughs in various aspects of life.

He urged ICT innovators in the country to make innovations that are people-centered so that they benefit all Malawians including the local citizens living in rural areas and not just those in urban areas.

“The challenge is how to make a tobacco farmer in Dowa yearn to know more about tobacco production using the Internet. How to make a groundnut farmer in Kasungu want to learn more about groundnut production using Internet and how to make a livestock farmer in Chikwawa learn more about best animal husbandry practices using the Internet. As an Association, I leave this challenge with you,” said the Veep.

However, Chilima also noted some strides that the country has registered in the ICT sector citing the introduction of the Business Registration Service in the Department of the Registrar General as one classic example.

“The government has managed to reduce the number of days it takes to register a company from 38 to five… and you can now register your businesses in the comfort of your home or office,” said Chilima.

On his part, ICTAM President, Wisely Phiri, hailed government for the support it is rendering to the ICT industry saying they are striving to narrow the existing gap in the ICT world.

Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) scooped the award as the most innovative public sector in the country while Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM), Baobab Health, and FDH Bank were recognized for their various innovations that have made most of their operations easier.

ICTAM also awarded Dr. Paulos Nyirenda, the Life Time Achiever Award owing to his immense contributions towards the development of ICT in Malawi over the years.