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The news item appended below concerns India, but in looking at this and a
lot of items about efforts there to make ICT useful to and accessible by
less advantaged segments of the Indian population, one wonders why there
isn't more collaboration on ICT development between India and Africa. (Or
maybe there's a lot more already that I'm not aware of?)

One part of the Indian ICT program discussed below is a "low-cost computer
that could take voice commands from illiterate people and operate in many
languages" (apparently different from the Simputer?*). It would seem that
African countries could benefit from a range of such technologies designed
to meet needs similar to what it has and India could benefit from expanding
its potential market for such innovations to new markets.  Collaboration
could assure that technology development takes specific African needs into
consideration, and also involve African investment in the long-term process
(another level of benefit).  Sure there are many differences between Africa
and South Asia, but not more than between Africa and the Northern countries
that are the principal ICT partners/models that Africa currently looks
toward.

Don Osborn
Bisharat.net

=====News item in SANTEC n-l, #4 for Nov. 03=======

Taken from Benton Foundation Communications-Related Headlines for November
5, 2003
---
INDIAN DRIVE TO BRIDGE IT CHASM
The government of India plans to spend more than USD $2.5 billion to help
bridge a growing technological divide between urban and rural areas. The
four-year plans were announced at a technology fair in the southern city of
Bangalore, which has benefited from India's high-tech boom. The plans
include developing a low-cost computer that could take voice commands from
illiterate people and operate in many languages.  The device would include
email, voicemail, text-to-speech and Internet access. In one trial project
near Delhi, postal workers are using handheld computers to download and
deliver email messages to villagers. Secretary for Industrial Policy Rajeeva
Ratna Shah also announced that India would soon launch a portal to let all
corporations deal directly online with the government. "This will enable us
to cut corruption," Shah said.
SOURCE: BBC News http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3235553.stm
===============[end]===================

* Re the Simputer question, and a longer segment of the above release, see
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bytesforall_readers/message/2670