Government through the Ministry of Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology in collaboration with the Public Private Partnership Commission has partnered UbuntuNet Alliance, the Regional Research and Education Network for Eastern and Southern Africa, to provide affordable, high speed and reliable connectivity services to the country's higher education and research institutions through the Malawi Research and Education Network (MAREN).
PPP Commission Acting Chief Executive Officer Audrey Mwala
The partnership comes under the World Bank funded Digital Malawi Project valued at K52 billion.
The contract will be signed on Friday in Blantyre.
According to a statement made available to Nyasa Times, the project objectivities included an extension and improved access to critical connectivity services especially the Internet for the public and private sectors, to improve ICT governance in the country, to improve access to government services and to facilitate provision of e-services thereby enhancing public service delivery.
"Under the contract, UbuntuNet Alliance will make available 1200 Mbps to MAREN in Blantyre for a period of 10 years. The capacity will be provided through a newly procured link between Blantyre and Maputo," reads the statement signed by PPP Commission Acting Chief Executive Officer Audrey Mwala.
MAREN is a specialized service provider dedicated to the connectivity and value-added services needs of the Malawi's higher education and research institutions.
It is an association of the public universities in Malawi which will be extended to include the institutions from both the public and private sector. It is run by a board comprising the universities.
MAREN was founded in 2005 and is recognized by the Government of Malawi through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology as the country's National Research and Education Network (NREN).
Its main purpose is to interconnect research and higher education institutions in Malawi and connect them to their peers globally and to the internet in general to facilitate research, teaching and learning.
"Such connectivity will assist our universities in accessing digital repositories that are available to the rest of the academic community worldwide, pursue research collaborations across institutions, nations and continents; access to digital platforms online and provide a common login across campuses.
"The PPPC plays a role of a lead implementing agency in the financing arrangements for the Digital Malawi Project under the Ministry of Information, Civic Education and Communication Technology. The ministry owns the project," reads the statement.