March 4, 2003: Headlines: COS - Senegal: Internet: Digital Freedom Initiative: USAID: USAID: Remarks by Andrew S. Natsios, Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development on the Digital Freedom Initiative Announcement

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Senegal: Peace Corps Senegal : The Peace Corps in Senegal: March 4, 2003: Headlines: COS - Senegal: Internet: Digital Freedom Initiative: USAID: USAID: Remarks by Andrew S. Natsios, Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development on the Digital Freedom Initiative Announcement

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Remarks by Andrew S. Natsios, Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development on the Digital Freedom Initiative Announcement



Remarks by Andrew S. Natsios, Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development on the Digital Freedom Initiative Announcement

Remarks by Andrew S. Natsios, Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development on the Digital Freedom Initiative Announcement

Eisenhower Executive Office Building
Washington, D.C.
March 04, 2003
As Prepared

The Digital Freedom Initiative (DFI) is an outstanding example of what can be accomplished when several branches of the U.S. Government and leading American companies like Cisco and Hewlett-Packard join forces to help long-time friends like Senegal.

The DFI reflects the guiding principals of this Administration - accountability, results, and innovative approaches to growth and development.

The one indispensable key to development is long-term economic growth. We at USAID think that the Digital Freedom Initiative has great potential to help the Senegalese economy grow.

First, the DFI will build on the countryís already significant information and communication technology (ICT) capabilities. Already, Senegal enjoys one of the strongest domestic information backbones in the developing world, with cybercafes and telecenters located throughout the country. And just last May President Wade inaugurated a transatlantic cable system that connected the country to the world-wide network of high-speed fiber optic cable.

Second, the DFI will facilitate the development of ICT applications that will enable small and medium-sized businesses become more profitable, find new markets, and access credit and other inputs more easily. Over the life of the pilot activity, we envision more that than 350,000 small businesses will be involved.

We plan to bring together small businesses, software firms, cybercafes, and volunteer ICT experts from the U.S. Together, they will identify problems and find ICT solutions that will help these businesses grow.

Let me give you two examples of how this could work. One of the challenges in banana production is getting the product to market at the right time and in the right condition. Traditionally, up to half the produce is lost or spoiled in transit. Modern IT-driven supply chain management has solutions for these problems and can give an important boost to the countryís agricultural producers and farm workers.

DFI could also provide new capability to the finance sector.Already USAID supports 15 microfinance institutions in Senegal that serve 360,000 customers through 225 outlets. These provided more than $30 million in loans last year. But more credit - and better management of credit - could result from expanded use of ICT technologies in this sector.With the right kind of information technology, businesswomen could file loan applications through a cybercafe, creating new business for cybercafes in the process.

USAIDís support for the DFI will build on the success of our Leland Initiative, which was named after the late Congressman Mickey Leland. This initiative works with 25 African countries to encourage competition, lower prices, and train people in ICT skills. It has helped create hundreds of new Internet Service Providers and thousands of cybercafes and brought the power of the Internet to millions of Africans.

I would like to make it clear that it is not the role of the U.S. Government or the American private sector to tell the Senegalese what projects they should pursue under the DFI. We stand ready to help, of course, but each partner in this alliance will bring his own ideas to the table and play an active role in the decision-making process. That is what real partnership is about.

Combining the resources, ideas and expertise of the public and private sector has been a major focus of USAID ever since Secretary of State Colin Powell announced the Global Development Alliance (GDA) in the spring of 2001. The GDA is now our business model, and I am proud to say that we have more than 80 public/private alliances already working on projects throughout the developing world, including our alliance with Ciscoís Networking Academies.

None of us wants to see any nation caught on the wrong side of progress. But ultimately it is nations themselves that must decide. The people and government of Senegal have shown they are willing to do the hard work it takes to grow and change. That is why we are delighted to join Commerce, USA Freedom Corps, Peace Corps, and the State Department, along with U.S. businesses to make the Digital Freedom Initiative work.

This is true partnership, combining the best of the public and private sector and reflecting this Administrationís commitment to Senegal and to Africa, its people, and its development.

Thank you.




When this story was prepared, here was the front page of PCOL magazine:

This Month's Issue: August 2004 This Month's Issue: August 2004
Teresa Heinz Kerry celebrates the Peace Corps Volunteer as one of the best faces America has ever projected in a speech to the Democratic Convention. The National Review disagreed and said that Heinz's celebration of the PCV was "truly offensive." What's your opinion and who can come up with the funniest caption for our Current Events Funny?

Exclusive: Director Vasquez speaks out in an op-ed published exclusively on the web by Peace Corps Online saying the Dayton Daily News' portrayal of Peace Corps "doesn't jibe with facts."

In other news, the NPCA makes the case for improving governance and explains the challenges facing the organization, RPCV Bob Shaconis says Peace Corps has been a "sacred cow", RPCV Shaun McNally picks up support for his Aug 10 primary and has a plan to win in Connecticut, and the movie "Open Water" based on the negligent deaths of two RPCVs in Australia opens August 6. Op-ed's by RPCVs: Cops of the World is not a good goal and Peace Corps must emphasize community development.


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Story Source: USAID

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Senegal; Internet; Digital Freedom Initiative; USAID

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