Following the article published by the Maravipost “Algeria ICT hack Malawi website” after the Flames loss. We decided to republish the article we posted warning about the state of Malawi Government websites and how they were all open to hacking because of dependance on outdated technologies.
The evolution of the Internet has governments and private business taking a new direction. First of all, the public now expects businesses and organizations like governments to have a Web site — one that can, at the very least, supply basic information and a means of getting in contact. A Web site has become nearly as essential as a telephone or fax machine or printed brochure.
Apart from fulfilling the public’s expectations, a Web site will also help your business or governments to increase profits and enhance abilities to provide services to its clients. Increasingly, people search the Web rather than the Yellow Pages when looking for a service or product. This trend is just not in the west but it is taking Africa and Malawi by storm as well.
A website if designed and maintained properly will save much company and Governments time. Effort is often wasted by repeatedly providing the same information either by phone or in person.
A website Make it easier for potential customers to find you. A detailed road map (sitemap) makes it easier for customers and seekers of services to navigate the website.
As a frequent traveler I am able to book flights on delta.com or on the smartphone app that is available on my iPhone. I am able to search for flights, book flights, pick a sit and print my boarding pass. This of course means Delta no longer has to hire thousands and thousands of agents. They no longer have to buy lots of paper for boarding passes or spend money on expensive phone lines.
The Malawi government website http://www.malawi.gov.mw/ was last updated almost 8 years ago. It does not serve Malawians as a source of any services or any useful information. Like the inefficiencies prevalent in our governments since independence Malawi government website are a constant reminder to us all that we have a long way to go. The website by using old unsupported technologies is open to hacking. I guess the retort would be what is there to hack?
I remember hearing a story that one of the reasons the new passports drive had problems was lack of paper for application forms. Who prints tons and tons of papers in this age? Why not make those application forms available in the form of downloadable PDF’s?
Many government and business support phones in Malawi remain an answered by either under motivated and overworked employees. Why not add website chats that would allow one person to attend to several inquiries at the same time?
Very few Malawi embassies have websites that mainly provide the picture of the Ambassador and nothing else. You would think by now all websites under the Ministry of foreign affairs would have a standardized template that would provide all the needed information and services for people interested in travelling to Malawi and those Malawians in the Diaspora needing information about the homeland.
These inefficiencies preceded the Joyce Banda government. This issue goes as far back as the Muluzi government. Therefore it is not to point fingers at any one government but to encourage the winner of the upcoming elections to fix this. A well designed network of government websites will save the government money and also improve its abilities to provide public services to its citizens.