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Complied by Cass Gilroy-Business Editor

Bill Gates- 400 million Africans will access ICTs by 2010

The president of the Microsoft, Bill Gates, is determined to enable 45 million Africans to gain access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) by 2010. The Africa director of Microsoft, Malian Chiek Modibo Diarra, told a news conference that "Microsoft will facilitate by the year 2010, ICT access to nearly 400 million Africans.”

Diarra gave the assurance that great mobilisation had already started by the different Microsoft teams, in order to attain the goals assigned by its president. "I have instructed our teams in Africa so that they can take stock of the hindrances to the development of ICTs on the continent, and that they report to me. And in agreement with the headquarters of Microsoft, we are going to find solutions to them," affirmed Diarra, a former engineer at NASA. He said the initiative would not be limited to bringing Africans computer hardware and the high debit internet without resolving specific problems attendant to them. While Africa represents nearly 17 per cent of the world’s population, only 3.1 per cent of its current inhabitants have access to the Internet. 

According to figures presented during a forum for a responsible globalisation, the Manhattan borough of New York has more telephone lines than those in all African countries combined. Around 2,000 participants in the Forum reacted to these statistics with great concerns, and launched an appeal for the reduction of the “digital gap”, considering that peace and stability around the world depend on access to information.


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