Minister Dausi says SADC still behind in ICT

Lilongwe, The Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Nicholas Dausi, has challenged communications regulatory bodies in the SADC region to develop policies that would enhance ICT services for economic development.

Dausi made the call Monday at the Bingu International Convention Center (BICC) in Lilongwe where he graced the opening of three days Universal Access and Service Committees meetings of Communications Regulators Association of Southern Africa (CRASA).

The ICT Minister said; It pains me each time I look at African indicators. We are not doing very well and we need to continue doing more. As for the SADC region, I want us to shine because we have invested a lot of knowledge wealth in our children.

He added; We just need to be focused and invest more in research and bring awareness to consumers on the available ICT services that have been necessitated by ICTs.

Dausi went on to underscore the critical role of modern ICT services in enhancing economic development saying African countries’ economies could undergo rapid growth and diversity through participation in the information society, which was highly dependent on modern and active ICT services.

He further said; As you deliberate, I wish to call upon you to identify key issues limiting the development of safe, efficient, and enabling digital financial ecosystems, analyze how these issues have been addressed elsewhere or within the region and exchange information on best practices, not forgetting to come up with policy recommendations for public and private sector stakeholders on how to approach these issues.

The meeting has been designed two fold to address challenges of universal access to general ICT and postal services within the SADC region, and brainstorm on strategies of regulating charges of roaming tariffs by mobile operators.

Also present at the event was CRASA Executive Secretary, Antony Chigaazira, who said universal access to ICTs and postal services had been the focus of CRASA with the belief that the whole SADC region would move in unison towards provision of advanced and modern communications technologies.

He also highlighted that the meetings would also reflect on how much CRASA member nations had done in attempting the target of universal broadband access.

Giving her remarks earlier, Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority board Chairperson Mervis Mangulenje, also underscored the need to ensure that CRASA member countries’ national policies and regulatory frameworks allow their regulatory bodies to regulate roaming.

Source: Malawi News Agency � MANA