The Government of Malawi through the Ministry of Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology in collaboration with the Public Private Partnership Commission is contracting 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). The activity is funded by the World bank through the Digital Malawi Project.
The Digital Malawi Project is a Government of Malawi project funded by the World Bank Group to the tune of K52 billion whose objectives are: to extend and improve 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.
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, et cetera.
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.
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.
It is against this background that the PPPC has planned a contract signing ceremony for this milestone.