March 7, 2003: Headlines: COS - Senegal: Internet: Digital Freedom Initiative: PC World: Feds Launch High-Tech Peace Corps

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Senegal: Peace Corps Senegal : The Peace Corps in Senegal: March 7, 2003: Headlines: COS - Senegal: Internet: Digital Freedom Initiative: PC World: Feds Launch High-Tech Peace Corps

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Feds Launch High-Tech Peace Corps

Feds Launch High-Tech Peace Corps

Feds Launch High-Tech Peace Corps

Volunteers will help developing nations improve their technology.

Grant Gross, IDG News Service
Friday, March 07, 2003

Volunteers from U.S. companies and the federal government will soon head to the African nation of Senegal to help the country improve its technology industry and its economy, according to the White House.

Earlier this week, the White House and the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the creation of the Digital Freedom Initiative, a program designed to help developing nations grow their technology industries.

Senegal, a mostly Muslim nation in West Africa, will be the first participating country in a three-year pilot program, and if the Senegalese experience is successful, the U.S. government would send volunteers to 20 countries in the following five years.
Political Decision

Senegal was chosen because its political leaders understand the importance of technology, and the country also has some technology infrastructure in place, said Connie Correll, senior advisor to the undersecretary of commerce for technology. The country has about 10,000 telephone centers, where residents can place phone calls, and about 200 of the centers are Internet capable, Correll said.

It also doesn't hurt that Senegal's population is mostly Muslim, as President George W. Bush faces public relations challenges with the Muslim world over his threatened war with Iraq.

"It's good foreign policy, and it's good economic policy," Correll said of Senegal as the choice. "The country is enthusiastic about the program."

Bush has budgeted $2 million for the program in his proposed 2004 federal budget, Correll said, but organizers expect Senegal will get another $4.5 million worth of volunteer work and computer equipment during the year.
Gaining Support

The program would send volunteers from technology and financial services companies, as well as members of the U.S. Peace Corps and other agencies, to Senegal to work with small businesses on technology issues. The program will also promote "pro-growth regulatory and legal structures."

Representatives of Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Systems attended the White House program kick-off ceremony Tuesday. IBM has also expressed interest in the program, Correll said. The U.S. Department of Commerce hopes to recruit more companies to get involved. Other federal agencies involved include the U.S. Agency for International Development and the USA Freedom Corps.

The groups involved participated in the first organizational meeting this week, and another meeting should happen within a couple of months, Correll said. Details about how the program will operate are still being worked out.

One of the program's missions is to help developing nations "bring people out of poverty," Correll said. "The overall goal is technology-based economic development," she added. "We're sending our human capital over to Senegal to help them develop their economy."

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?

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Story Source: PC World

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



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