By Chancy Namadzunda
Manoj Kohli, Chief Executive Officer (International) and Joint Managing Director of Bharti Airtel paid a courtesy call on Her Excellency the President of the Republic of Malawi, Joyce Banda, to update on the telecommunication company’s investments in Malawi.
Kohli outlined Airtel’s commitment to Malawi through a number of innovations, investments and continued human resource development.
Kohli who heads the African operations at Bharti Airtel also appreciated the progressive Government reforms in the telecom sector, citing the proposed converged licensing regime that is poised to enhance telecommunications connectivity within the region.
“Our objective is to provide our customers with innovative mobile services that will help fuel the economic and social development of Malawi. Our investment of USD 25 million in the development of the 3G network and introduction of Airtel Money are a clear demonstration of our commitment to deepen our network and bridge the digital divide,” she said.
He said Airtel is committed to ensure Airtel Money services are within arm’s reach of the Malawian people.
The platform allows consumers to send and receive money, directly pay their critical utility bills, provide access to their bank accounts and even top up their phones with air time. The Airtel Money service will benefit the rural communities of Malawi as has been proven in neighbouring countries such as Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
The planned upgrade of Airtel’s High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 3G network in Malawi will usher in a new era of unique life style enabling products. This is the latest and fastest wireless broadband technology, also being rolled out in Europe and the USA.
It will contribute significantly towards meeting the growing demand for high speed internet and wireless entertainment for large Corporates, Small & Medium Businesses and the Youth.
“Our commitments are a clear indication that Government reforms and measures in the telecommunications sector will add impetus to the economy. Airtel Malawi is also backed by a professional team to support the drive.
“Airtel’s commitment to be one of the leading global telecommunications companies is underpinned by the development of local talent at all levels. To this end, Airtel’s leadership program has seen 4 talented Malawians take up senior positions overseas to develop their professional skills within the organization,” he said.
Another notable highlight is the significant investment in one of Airtel’s largest green energy initiatives in Sub-Sahara Africa.
Kohli highlighted his company’s USD10 million Green energy investments in Malawi by the end of the current financial year.
The move to build a Green network will address short term issues; cutting back the reliance on fuel, ensuring uninterrupted network upgrades and the medium to long term issues; such as managing operational costs and conservation of the Environment.
In his remarks, Airtel Malawi Managing Director Saulos Chilima showcased the acquisition of permanent office facilities in Blantyre and Limbe as an indication of its long term commitment in Malawi. He also disclosed that Airtel Malawi has successfully negotiated for new office space in Lilongwe.