The Lusaka City Council (LCC) and Edgy Nicollo M2TD Consortium of South Africa has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in a pilot project to provide free wi-fi services in Lusaka.
During the signing ceremony held in Lusaka recently, Ministry of Local Government and Housing Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga said the Government is happy that the project is finally taking shape.
Stakeholders in the project include, Edgy Nicollo M2TD Consortium, Zambian High Commission in South Africa and Lusaka City Council/Government of the Republic of Zambia.
Others are the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA), a
body responsible for regulating the ICT sector in Zambia, the Zambia Telecommunications Company (ZAMTEL) and the e-Goverance office.
Mr Malupenga was particularly elated that the project was expected to create an estimated 1, 500 jobs for the youths in Lusaka.
Mr Malupenga said initiatives such as the one being entered into with Nicollo Group will help in creating an enabling environment for councils to effectively and efficiently provide services to the local people, more so that it will create employment for the youths in Lusaka.
“These are the kinds of projects that we as Government always encourage councils to undertake because public-private partnerships (PPPs) help to keep councils in direct contact with the people in the communities,” Mr Malupenga.
And Lusaka Town Clerk, Alex Mwansa said he was impressed with signing of the MoU with Edgy Nicollo M2TD Consortium because of the wonderful benefits the project would bring.
Mr Mwansa said once the technical team commences with the layout of the infrastructure, the centre will start the recruitment and training of digital ambassadors who will be tasked with the responsibility of teaching locals on how to use free wifi.
“I am glad that the project is finally becoming a reality. The project will help alleviate the problem of unemployment in Lusaka in that an estimated 1, 500 jobs are expected to be created.
Upon completion of the project, cooperatives will be established and formalised among the trained candidates and later the cooperatives will be tasked with the responsibility of maintenance of the project,” Mr Mwansa said.
The Town Clerk said the Council will identify hotspot zones within Lusaka for wifi services to make it easy for members of the public to pay for the various services that the local authority provides.
Mr Mwansa said the free wifi service will also help Lusaka residents to electronically pay for various services provided by the local authority such as rates, ground rent, business, fire, marriage certificates, building plans, firearms, bill boards, liquor and public health services eg restaurant operating licences; among others.
The free wifi project was initiated by Zambian High Commissioner to South Africa, Emmanuel Mwamba and in April this year when he led a delegation of eight members from Edgy Nicollo Group for talks with officials from the Ministry of Local Government and Housing and the Lusaka City Council.
Wifi is a term for certain types of wireless local area networks (WLAN) and is widely used in businesses, agencies, schools, and homes as an alternative to a wired LAN.