Strive Masiyiwa was recently summoned by Malawi’s president President Lazarus Chakwera to discuss how the Malawian populace can have access to cheap internet.
Chakwera said,”I engaged Strive Masiyiwa of Econet Global about my resolve to see Malawi connected to the network of fiber technology by which other African countries are interconnected via high-speed and cheap internet and increasing financial transactions across borders”. Malawi’s President had complained that the cost of data in Malawi is prohibitive. Chakwera was speaking in regards to the Coronavirus pandemic when he noted that many would still be excluded from eLearning activity because of the cost of data. He further stated,”even though a few private and international schools have introduced online platforms for learning, most of the models used have so far proven to be unsustainable.Not only has the cost of data been prohibitive, but the lack of training and support for both parents and teachers to facilitate home-based education and guarantee a suitable learning environment for kids has unfairly burdened families with an approach more focused on completion of work than creating a dynamic learning experience that delivers robust learning outcomes”.
Whilst the President did not disclose what the outcome of those talks with the Econet Wireless’ Chairman it is interesting to see him take an active interest in lowering data prices. This is not usually the norm with most other Presidents in the region.Apart from internet issues, Chakwera also shared that his discussions with Masiyiwa also touched on the COVID-19 pandemic. It should be noted that Strive is also the African Union’s Special Envoy on Africa’s Covid-19 Response. Chakwera stated, “we also discussed at length the facilities and tools that my Administration will leverage for victory over the pandemic in the next few weeks”.