Friday, January 12, 2007

OLPC - Rwanda is participating!

Forward from Wayan.

The government of Rwanda has now announced it will be participating in the One Laptop Per Child roll out sometime in the next five years with yesterday's press release:

[T]he government of Rwanda has committed to provide one laptop per child to all primary school children within five years. This commitment was confirmed as H.E. President Paul Kagame met with Prof. Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairperson of One Laptop per Child (OLPC) at Urugwiro Village on Tuesday.

OLPC will provide test laptops plus support to fully test the concept at no cost in Rwanda, as well as coordinate knowledge exchange with other participating nations.

Greg Wyler of Terracom
Of all the OLPC countries, Rwanda seems the most technologically advanced and pedagogically prepared for One Laptop Per Rwandan Child. President Paul Kagame has embraced ICT as the key to his country's future and Rwanda has amazing entrepreneurs like Greg Wyler of Terracom who is providing affordable Internet access for all Rwandans.

When I met Greg last year, I was amazed by his energy, vision, and dedication to President Kagame's Vision 2020. As Romain Murenzi, Rwanda's Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Scientific Research says:

"We have almost no natural resources and no seaports in Rwanda, which leaves us only with the knowledge-based society.[...] We intend to quadruple the average income by [2020], and communication networks can help us achieve that goal,"

And from my experience with the Kigali Institute of Science and technology and local Rwandan entrepreneurs, they are taking the government at its word, building the most advanced and aggressive information and communication-based economy south of the Sahara and north of South Africa.

OLPC + Children Worldwide

In other words, a perfect environment for millions of Children's Machine XO's. Granted, there is a serious question of cost. Rwanda is not rich, it cannot afford to buy a OLPC for ever child, even at $100 dollars per laptop, but I for once am cheering on a recipient country.

Which brings us to a pertinent question: Just who is in or out of the OLPC roll out? We have confirmation that Argentina, Brazil, Libya, Nigeria, Uruguay, and maybe Pakistan are in, but Thailand, India and China are out.

Reading CNN we hear that the Palestinian territory is in and reading Yahoo News we find that Egypt and Massachusetts are out. Yet there isn't any independent confirmation about Pakistan, Egypt, Massachusetts, or the Palestinian territory.

Oh, and before you look, who knows what reality the OLPC country map exists in.

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