It's fair to assume that when someone holds the title of "Minister of Information and Communications Technology" that they should at minimum be able to explain to their fellow parliamentarians ICT concepts, even if it is just at a high level. This doesn't seem to be the case with Nichoals Dausi, Malawi's Minister of Information and Communications Technology. who could not explain what 4G telecommunications technology is to his fellow members of parliament.
Dausi, when asked to talk and explain the meaning of 4G, stated that he would need to "consult first" when in parliament on 7 June 2018.
More worrying, and awkward, is that Dausi recently was present to launch Airtel’s 4G network and TNM’s 4.5G network in Malawi. This has seen many Malawians starting not only to ridicule Dausi on social media but raise questions about his competence to hold the position.
Apart from private sector telecommunications projects, Malawi received a $72 million loan from the World Bank in June 2017 which will be used for the 'Digital Malawi Program". It is hoped that this program, overseen by Dausi, will significantly expand access to the Internet in the Southern Afrikan country, but one has to wonder if the Minister is competent enough for the task.
It is especially worrying considering that telecommunications, and especially mobile telecommunications, form the basic method that many people in Malawi access the Internet. As such, for a Minister of Information and Communications Technology not to know what 4G means suggests something is amis.
Over the years as access to the Internet becomes a key driver of economic growth for Afrikan countries analysts have questioned if Afrikan policy makers are up to the task as far as creating a telecommunications policy environment which drives economic growth. However, with Minsters of Information and Communications Technology who can't explain simple telecommunications concepts, the future looks bleak.
Cover image credit: Nicholas Dausi, 2017. Nyasa Times