FYI (pardon the crossposts)...
African Languages & ICT for Development in Africa:
Rationale for, potential of, & resources to facilitate localization
A seminar presentation, midway through the "Year of African Languages"
Thursday 22 June 2006, 2:00 - 6:00
World Bank "I" Street Building, I1-200
During this, the Year of African Languages,* the PanAfrican Localisation
project would like to briefly examine the importance of these languages for
development in Africa with particular attention to their use in information
and communication technology (ICT). This workshop will help raise awareness
and set the context for discussion of African languages in ICT for
development, and also introduce some resources for localization of software
and internet content.
The indigenous languages and linguae francae of Africa have tended to be
neglected in development discourse and practice and it has been said that
international donors and development experts generally see African
multilingualism as a hindrance for development on that continent. The
occasion of the Year of African Languages provides an incentive to begin
with a reconsideration of the importance of Africa's first languages in
practical as well as cultural terms.
Moreover, with the increasing access to ICT in Africa on the one hand, and
worldwide exploration of the multilingual potentials of the technology on
the other, we have an opportunity to consider how user interfaces and
internet content can optimally meet the complex linguistic profile of
African societies (without contesting the utility of Anglophone and
Francophone ICT for a certain range of users and uses).
The seminar will include a screening of a new documentary on the "African
Languages and Literatures into the 21st Century" conference held in January
2000, and presentations by Dr. Don Osborn, Daniel Yacob on localization in
The seminar is presented by the PanAfrican Localisation Project, which is
funded by the International Development Research Centre and carried out by
Bisharat, Ltd. and Kabissa - Space for Change in Africa. For more
information, see http://www.kabissa.org/projects/panafrloc-wb-seminar.html
or contact Don Osborn at dzo at bisharat.net
* The Year of African Languages"" was declared by the African Union in