Leveraging digital transformation in the Covid-19 era through South-South Cooperation

June 6, 2022

Malawi, Zambia, and UNDP’s collaboration on digital transformation

UNDP Malawi continues to work with key partners across different focus areas to maintain critical functionality in an effective and safe working environment amidst the Covid pandemic and to provide transformative technological solutions where appropriate and sustainable.

When the Covid-19 pandemic was first confirmed in the country, the Parliament of Malawi was quick to embrace digital transformation and adaptive new digital measures to ensure continuity of business in the chamber and to help reduce the spread of the virus within the parliamentary premises. To help realise the Parliament of Malawi’s digitalization journey, UNDP has provided ICT infrastructure upgrades and technical support as part of the digital transformation and Covid-19 response work.  

Building on this continual partnership – and in line with UNDP encouraging south-south cooperation whenever possible – UNDP is supporting an innovative collaboration between the Parliaments of Zambia and Malawi in the adoption of an online application, developed by the National Assembly of Zambia, that will help to further modernize the Parliament of Malawi’s plenary proceedings, including the introduction of e-voting and electronic sharing of documents, a precursor to a paperless Parliament.  The Zambia National Assembly has successfully developed and implemented the in-house e-Chamber App since 2020, which, according to the testimonies, has helped ease most of its internal procedures and digital innovation.

Following the endorsement of the process to set up and test the new e-Chamber application in Malawi, UNDP facilitated a recent visit by ICT experts from the Zambia National Assembly to provide assessments and recommendations on how best the Parliament of Malawi can adopt and initiate the application. The ensuing report that has emerged now provides a firm roadmap to guide the required institutional reforms and ICT infrastructure investments that will need to be made for the implementation of an e-Chamber app and for moving towards a fully-fledged e-Parliament.

In his remarks, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Mr. Challa Getachew said; “As UNDP, we recognise that Digital technology is a fundamental force for change in this century. Strengthening ICT infrastructure is therefore one of our key strategic pillars to help accelerate the development agenda. Regional collaboration is an important aspect and Malawi has had a significant long historical relationship with the Republic of Zambia.   We are therefore calling for more partners and supporters to support the digital solutions aimed at strengthening Parliament’s operations, as it delivers on its mandate.”

In her remarks, the Clerk of Parliament Mrs. Fiona Kalemba has expressed how the collaboration represents a good practice case study of regional cooperation and learning opportunities between the Parliament of Malawi and the Zambia National Assembly. She is pleased with the efficiencies the proposed e-Chamber application will bring to the Parliament of Malawi.