ICT vital to economic development, says Ictam


Information and Communication Technologies Association of Malawi (Ictam) says at a time of slowed growth and continued volatility, ICT is vital in stimulating growth and creating jobs.

Ictam president Wisely Phiri said this in reaction to a United Nations (UN) World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo) report which notes that intangible capital such as branding, design and technology are increasingly determining success in the marketplace and have a larger global income share and product value compared to tangible capital such as machinery and buildings.

Ictam president Wisely Phiri

The 2017 Wipo report titled Intangible Capital in Global Value Chains, looks at how much income is credited to labour, tangible capital and intangible capital in global value chain production across 19 manufacturing activities.

The report says acquiring intangible assets is a key imperative for policymakers in developing economies seeking to support local firms that strive to upgrade their production capabilities in global value chains.

In an interview, Phiri said for projects, to really benefit Malawians, they should tap into ICT as it is estimated to have contributed at least a quarter of gross domestic product (GDP) in developing countries during the first decade of the 21st century.

He said: “At a time of slowed growth and continued volatility, countries are looking for policies that will stimulate growth and create new jobs.

“ICT alone has been responsible for 25 percent of Kenya’s economic growth and 20 percent of China’s. In the second half of the last decade, ICT accounted for 34 percent of Japan’s economic growth.”

According to the report, intangible capital on average accounted for 30.4 percent of the total value of manufactured goods sold between 2000 and 2014 with overall income increasing by 75 percent during the same period.

Commenting on the study’s findings, Catholic University dean of social sciences Gilbert Kachamba said it is unfortunate that intangible capital is still insignificant in Malawi’s economy despite innovations having potential to take the country out of poverty. n

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