The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has officially launched the Universal Service Fund (USF) Strategic Plan for the period 2022-2027. The five-year plan is set to promote the adoption of ICT services in rural and underserved areas of the country.
The USF, which is managed by MACRA, was established by the Communications Act No. 34 of 2016 to promote universal access to communications services. In May 2018 MACRA launched a consultation with stakeholders on a draft framework regarding the USF and the following year the Communications (Universal Service Fund) Rules, 2019 were published by the regulator. The USF will be used to offer subsidies on a competitive basis to licensees, in order to give them incentives to expand communications services to unserved and rural areas that are not economically viable.