President Lazarus Chakwera has held talks with Strive Masiyiwa, a Zimbabwean telecommunications billionaire, over cheap internet in Malawi.
Masiyiwa is founder of Econet Wireless which he launched in 1998 in Zimbabwe. According to new site Forbes, he also owns just over half of Liquid Telecom which provides fiber optic and satellite services to telecom firms in Africa.
Chakwera on Friday confirmed holding talks with Masiyiwa as the Malawi leader looks to get Malawi connected to high speed internet.
“I engaged Strive Masiyiwa of Econet Global about my resolve to see Malawi connected to the network of fiber technology by which other African countries are interconnected via high-speed and cheap internet and increasing financial transactions across borders.
“Since Strive is also the African Union’s Special Envoy on Africa’s Covid-19 Response, we also discussed at length the facilities and tools that my Administration will leverage for victory over the pandemic in the next few weeks,” said Chakwera in Facebook post.
Masiyiwa who is Zimbabwe’s richest man has made investments in mobile phone networks in Burundi and Lesotho.
The meeting comes after Chakwera recently expressed concern over the high cost of data in Malawi.
He said the high cost is one of the challenges affecting the implementation of online learning programmes at this time when schools are closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Last month, Malawians launched the Reduce Data Cost social media campaign to urge mobile companies, Airtel and TNM, to reduce the cost of data.
TNM, following the campaign, reduced its Pay as you Go (PAYG) internet cost by 70%. Prior to the change, TNM was charging K25/MB or K25,600 per GB. The 70% reduction implies that TNM is now charging K6.25/MB or K6,400 per GB.
Airtel was offering relatively cheaper PAYG at K15 per MB or K15,360 per GB. The company reduced that to K5/MB and also increased the volumes in MBs for some of its bundles while maintaining their prices.