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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 9th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The Moderator was Christopher Sabatini, Editor-in-Chief of Americas Quarterly, and his panel included Evan Hansen of Wired.com, Matt Keller of “One Laptop per Child, Tarkan Maner, of private sector Wyse Technologies, and Eduardo Saravia of Telefonica International USA.

The question was: What does the IT Revolution mean for Latin America and the talk was of public-private coalition building.

Hansen spoke of broadband that allows direct provider – consumer relations. With his laptop the consumer can go directly to networks without a provider. Up to now it was all a provider world. The idea is to have a National Wifi program.

Maner pointed out that it is important it be for profit. In India – the gov’t connects rural areas via the internet.

Mat Keller showed us his small computer that costs $180, an is ntended for the children in poor countries. You can buy one here by donating one to a developing country child! The child ends up teaching the parents how to use technology and they get this way the information to change their world. The project is helped by the UN.

Saravia said that Telefonica is the largest investor in LA. More then the oil sector. Telefonica works in 25 countries of which 15 are in LA. The head corporate office is in Uruguay. 75% of the phone company is now wireless – everything based on a single line – a cable – he called wireless.

The questions were mainly addressed to Mr. Keller. There was a lot of “leapfroging” notion.

I asked what about the countries that do not want to let their people get secular education? There must be a solid number of such countries at the UN? He told me that 750,000 of his computers are in Peru, Uruguay wants to get one million, the Kurdish area in Iraq wants 600,000. As well, Rwanda has 100,000. Ghana, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Haiti, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Nepal got computers, Palestine wants computers.

Though manufactured in China – the Chinese did not distribute these computers to their children. It also became clear, that except for Afganistan, Iraq, and Palestine, all countries that sort off became westernized by military intervention, no other Islamic countries allowed for any involvement with these computers. So, the clear answer is that China or Traditional Islamic countries, just have no interest in raising the level of their children, or in effect of their whole poor sector, above the present level of subservience to their home grown top societies.

I must say that this meeting turned out much more information then it was designed to do – we would like to see the conclusions I reached here get the appropriate sounding out at the UN. It is just so much rubbish one can absorb at meetings of the UN Department of Public Misinformation. One has indeed to go outside that compound in order to obtain the correct information from the same people that are being paraded before the UN Press that does not want, is not allowed, or do not know to ask the correct questions.

Please see the technical website www.laptop.org – this is a tool of a real revolution – the uplifting of the underdeveloped world in cases the people are blessed with a moe or less benevolent government. ONE LAPTOP – PER CHILD

The headquarters are at 1 Cambridge Center, 10th floor, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02142 USA.

Matt Keller himself is Director of Europe, Middle East & Africa of that effort.

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