Minister of Information, Gospel Kazako, has admitted that the costs of internet services in the country are exorbitant but was quick to say that government working out solutions with Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
Kazako said in Mzuzu Wednesday at the launch of Luntha ndi Chuma Digital Skills and Innovation Grants -a government funded programme where six technology hubs in the country have received K1 billion from the government to train 5 000 youth in digital and entrepreneurial skills.
"Government is still negotiating with internet service providers to further reduce the costs [of internet] which we anticipate will be a catalyst in the smooth implementation of the programme [government is launching today," said Kazako.
Among the tech hubs that will benefit from the K1 billion programme are Technolab from Dowa, Dzuka Africa from Blantyre, mHub, Growth Africa and Ntha Foundation and Mzuzu E-hub from Lilongwe and Mzuzu respectively.
The minister said the programme is a milestone in attaining economic opportunities in digital space which he said will lead to job creation and economic empowerment among youth.
"The world has now gone digital and these hubs are part of all our energies put together to create jobs. The entrepreneurial skills will allow the young people to start their own companies and employ others.
"The persons who do Kombeza yoghurt are young people who are a product of these tech hubs. There are so many others of such young people being involved in agriculture, main stream digital creation and some are into media," said Kazako.
Speaking on behalf of beneficiary tech hubs, Oganive Chingakule, of Growth Africa thanked government for the support saying it will help the tech hubs to reach out to more youth and women in need of digital solutions for economic enhancement.
"In the past it was a struggle to share a vision with government. This is a commendable step by the government," she said.
Chief Executive Officer for Public Private Partnership Commission (PPPC), Patrick Kabambe, said Luntha ndi Chuma Digital Skills and Innovation Grants falls under US74 million World Bank funded Digital Malawi Project which is aimed at transforming digital space in the country.
He said more activities will be launched under the project which will among others include free public Wi-Fi and internet connectivity in 500 public institutions.
Before the launch, the minister toured Mzuzu e-hub where he interacted with students and appreciated entrepreneurship skills being offered at the institution.