I may start by introducing myself as some people have already done so. I am a research student in Queuing Networks at the University of Sheffield. As such I am interested in Information Technology (IT) and Communication Networks. However my interest is mainly from a statistical point of view. I come from Malawi - a small country 'engulfed' by Mozambique. Valerie Bruce wrote: > Aid is not given because we're altruistic. Not at all. The donor expects > valuable returns on the "investment". That's what aid really is. Let me respond to this and try to swing the argument slightly back to IT in Africa. Over the years I too have noticed these expressed concerns about AID in Africa and thought that probably an acceptable word in many African circles would be LOAN. And words like 'aid', 'assistance', 'donation' etc though they are partly in line with helping they are more on the propaganda side. As most of these funds are supposed to be paid back anyway. For instance I have observed many times that despite the existence of qualified locals in many occasions, the donor countries 'pretend', if I may use that word, that there is almost no such expertise. And on top of this one sees these donor representatives working on the projects with 'extravagant' fringe benefits when the poor countries are the ones going to pay back for this expenditure with some interest. I do believe that it is necessary for them to safeguard the 'investiment' but it seems the packages given to some of these individuals is not necessary. But the truth is there are some 'assistances' or funding that have been well intended (and done some good) but the problem has been slowed by the assisted people or communities themselves. I recall an incident when a UK university was getting rid of their 386 or 286 PC's and offered them free to an African university. What was needed from the african university was only money to transport them, which they could easily do as they had been getting very expensive cars for college principals, anyway. The administration did not think it wise to venture into such an offer. Don't you think that the reason was that they were second hand, no! When one looks at the college that was going to get these computers sees the following. The e-mail facility can be accessed on about 4 terminals only, the computer science and statistics classes have to use about 30 computers (half of them MACs, so 15 terminals in a room), the class sizes range from 60 - 140 students. One also notices that even after six months of introducing e-mail on the college, the e-mail network was not taken seriously by administrators except a few academics. It often puts the one interested in IT in an awkward position as his suggestions or plead to the decision makers often will appear unsound to them. Finally as taxes on many african govt for imported goods are high and that it is not easy for people to buy things directly from manufacturing or producing world, prices of computers and softwares, and other computer accessories are in many cases etremely high. Jimmy Namangale School of Mathematics & Statistics University of Sheffield England.