" ITREALMS: Nigeria, Egypt, four others lead benefactors of $100 laptop

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Nigeria, Egypt, four others lead benefactors of $100 laptop

Most populous nation in the black continent has been listed as first beneficiaries of the initiative to reduce the digital divide among developing countries through cheap laptops.

NIGERIA has been chosen along five other countries of the world, as the initial benefactors of the One-Laptop-One-Child initiative, says the chairman of the initiative, Prof. Nicholas Negroponte.

Other countries, according to him, are Egypt, India, Brazil/Argentina, China, and Thailand.
Making this disclosure at a media session Wednesday in Tunis, Prof. Negroponte accompanied by Mrs. MaryLov Jepsen and Mr. Alan Key, top members of the initiative, said that Nigeria is one of the six nations designated for the distribution of the initial $100 laptops through the governments.

Initial distribution of this model of laptops is expected by first quarter of next year, as he hoped that the Nigerian authorities would buy into the idea although interest has been shown by the government.

Why we partner with govts
Prof. Negroponte, who said he was in Nigeria last week, also noted though dealing with governments strictly is difficult, but the concept is because the laptops are slated for usage in improving standards of education mostly in developing countries.

“This is because education is a public good,” he said, stressing that it does not make sense to deal with people who are keen on making profits.

Emphasizing that open source is the best thing that could happen to the initiative as it would boost the project penetration.

UN support for $100 laptop
In his remarks on the initiative, the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Mr. Kofi Annan, said that it is inspiring in many respects as much as it is impressive technical achievement.

“It is impressive technical achievement, able to do almost everything that larger, more expensive computers could do. It holds the promise of major advances in economic and social development,” he said.

He also lauded Prof. Negroponte and his team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), United States.

Nigeria’s interest
Speaking exclusively to correspondent, member of the board of the project in-charge of Nigeria’s phase from the Club of Rome, Mr. Roland Burger, revealed that President Olusegun Obasanjo had earlier on Wednesday accosted him, demanding to know when the laptops would be visible in Nigerian schools.

Mr. Burger accompanied by executive committee member of the Club, Prof. Raoul Weiler, said due to the interest shown by the president and his minister in Tunisia, at the second phase of World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS-05), a meeting has been scheduled between them and the Nigerian top government officials.

Strengthening the interest
This team, he said, would comprise the Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Turner Isoun and Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, and would be this Friday, to strengthen the drive for the computer which mass production is scheduled early next year.

“The president is active and has indicated interest that he would like to have the $100 laptops as soon as possible,” he said, even as the project team is expected in Nigeria next week to further discussion on the initiative.

Note for sale
Noteworthy, however, is that the $100 laptops is not yet in production and will not be available for sale to the public, but only be distributed to schools directly through large government initiatives.

1 comment:

Imnakoya said...

I wonder if this is one prong of the Computer for All Nigerian Initiatives (CANI) of the FGN.

Are these machines meant for primary, secondary or varsity students?

Clearly the main problem with education in Nigeria especially at the lower levels is strickly not IT or computer literacy; it is much more basic and fundamental.

So when these 100$-a-piece computers arrive, would the issues of power (electricity)and internet access be totally addressed by then, or what?

I'm excited by the concept, so don't get me wrong. There are just some questions I find hard to answer in my mind, that's all.

Featured post @ITREALMS

Reprieve for UNILAG student, Aminat, who lives in swampy, flooded apartment+video - ITREALMS

ITREALMS ... making leadership SENSE with digital news! Reprieve is on the way for the 300-level University of Lagos (UNILAG) undergraduate...