Your Honour, the Chairman of PP-18,
The ITU Secretary General and your Team,
Your Excellencies fellow Ministers here present,
Distinguished participants from all Member States,
Ladies and Gentlemen.

On Behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of Malawi allow me to bring you greetings from the Warm heart of Africa. Mr. Chairman, on this auspicious occasion of the 2018 Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-18), let me start by congratulating you Chairman for your election as the Chair of this conference. 

Let me thank our host, the Government and people of the United Arab Emirates for the warm and excellent hospitality accorded to us since our arrival in this beautiful emirate of Dubai. Let me also thank the ITU secretary General, Mr. Houlin Zhao and his team for the excellent stewardship of our organization and all member states present here for the commitment shown so far in this conference.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, Malawi as a country recognizes ICT as a key pillar for economic development as evidenced by its inclusion in the Malawi Growth and Development Strategies (MGDS) and the enactment of a National ICT Policy to guide the development of the sector. 

In view of the ITU developmental goals, Malawi has embraced all aspects of The ITU Connect 2020 vision and targets including growth, inclusiveness, sustainability, innovation and partnership. The following steps have thus been undertaken; 

  1. Malawi reviewed the Communications Act 2016, E-Transaction and Cyber Security Act of 2016 which will improve ICT utilization and access as well as facilitating easier access to the Universal Service Fund (USF) as a sustainable financing source; 
  2. The country is encouraging competition by among others implementing a converged licensing framework and introducing walk-in-application (previously, we used to invite application) for almost all the licenses in the sector; 
  3. We are establishing the fiber backbone to connect to the submarine cables through the Regional Communications Infrastructure Project Malawi (RCIP-MW) and the national fiber backbone project; 
  4. We are implementing the Multipurpose Community Telecentres Project as well as the piloting of Television White Spaces (TVWS) project for rural broadband internet access as a way of providing ICT access to rural areas; 
  5. In order to address the supply and demand gaps in the country’s broadband network, Malawi has formulated a national Broadband strategy and the Cyber Security strategy to guide the process;
  6. The country is implementing the digital migration project in line with regional and global deadlines and the harmonization of the digital dividend in order to facilitate socio-economic development of our country; and
  7. Finally, and certainly not the least, we are championing financial inclusion through mobile money platforms. 

Mr. Chairman, these are just a few among the many strategies which Malawi as a nation is pursuing to promote ICT development. It is therefore our considered view that the efforts being done by our country will facilitate bridging of the digital divide in line with ITU "Connect 2020" vision, goals and targets.

In conclusion, let me take this opportunity to thank ITU leadership for the support which it has been rendering to my country. The ITU Experts assisted us in the development of E-Waste Management strategy and we are expecting experts in the month of November to conduct a cyber security training and assist in the establishment of our national CERT.  

On behalf of my delegation I wish to express my gratitude to you for the able manner you are handling this conference and I have no doubt that this will be a highly successful Plenipotentiary conference and I wish you well for the rest of the conference.