14 January 2016

Malawi: Moving Towards Digital Malawi - Lessons From Kenya

Nairobi — Malawi Government is aggressively moving towards bringing efficient and effective public services closer to the people wherever they are.

This is part of the Public Service Reforms programs initiated by President Professor Peter Mutharika to transform Malawi.

This far, progress has been made in the pilot phase of making post offices one-stop-centres of providing public services across the country. The other side of these reforms is to develop a Government Web Portal for e-service delivery. The portal is also anticipated to improve internal service delivery and information sharing across government.

Once completed, Malawians will access government services, integrated information and communication at a click of a button on the smart phone, tablet or laptop.

Currently, Malawi's government experts are visiting Kenya to learn the best of their lessons in how the East African economic hub revolutionalised digital technology to communicate with and provide efficient services to their citizens.

Malawi's High Commissioner to Kenya Dr. Perks Ligoya has described effective communication and information delivery as key for government's service delivery and citizen engagement.

In an interview with Malawi News Agency, Ligoya said Malawi has a lot to learn from how the Government of Kenya has transformed its information and service delivery through online services and the Huduma Centre (a one stop centre for all government services) and government portal.

"I thought it was important for us as a country to come and see what is happening here. There is a lot that Malawi can do improve its communication systems," reflected Dr.Ligoya.

"The way Kenya has used its official portal http://www.mygov.go.ke to empower its citizenry is impressive and a mobile phone has become a powerful gadget for the citizens to access information about the government and its services," he said.

Ligoya added that the Huduma centre provides a lot of lessons for Malawi government on how it can improve its service delivery by making them available online and bring them under one roof which will also ensure that government cuts its cost of expenditure. Huduma is an equivalent of what Malawi's Ministry of Information and Civic Education is developing via Malawi Posts Corporation.

Leading the delegation, Director of Information Dr. Bright Molande has said "Government is determined more than ever to implement a comprehensive programme of bringing information and public services closer to the people using digital platforms and existing infrastructure such as post offices."

Dr. Molande added that "we have already laid down a new country-wide Fibre Optic Network infrastructure using a private-public partnership facility with Simbanet. We are launching the facility soon.

With enhanced internet in government offices and the public domain, we can now move to the next level of digital service provision."

The Ministry of Information, Tourism and Civic Education was one of the ministries that committed to national reforms and signed a performance agreement.


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