Silicon Valley And World Leaders To Partner, Bring Technology To Developing Countries
Intel Chairman: Speeding Access Will Improve Education, Health Care, Entrepreneurism, Government Services
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Feb. 28, 2007 - Members of a special United Nations group met today with Silicon Valley leaders to explore how the technology industry, government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can come together to bolster development around the world.
Intel Corporation and the U.N.'s Global Alliance for Information and Communications Technology and Development (U.N. GAID) jointly organized the summit. Intel Chairman Craig Barrett, who also chairs the U.N. GAID, said the meeting provided a critical platform for sharing ideas and forging partnerships among prominent members of government, the international development community and Silicon Valley's businesses, academia and the venture capital industry.
"The U.N. GAID was formed last year to partner with private industry and NGOs to accelerate access to computers, connectivity and rich local content to improve entrepreneurship, education, health care and government services," said Barrett, who traveled last fall to 10 developing countries to explore how technology was being used in rural areas.
"This summit is designed to foster collaboration and, more importantly, create action," he said. "It's what the world needs and governments want for their citizens. It's the right thing to do and makes business sense."
The U.N. has been a strong advocate for expanding and capitalizing on the role of information and communication technologies in advancing development, and for making its benefits available to more people in the developing world.
"Silicon Valley is the world capital of innovation, and we are counting on its contribution," said U.N. GAID executive director Sarbuland Khan. "In the information and communication field, the melding of markets and social responsibility is bringing to life new solutions to age-old problems like poverty, disease, hunger and illiteracy."
Representatives from more than 30 countries -- as far away as Azerbaijan and South Africa -- attended the summit today, meeting with more than 100 Silicon Valley technology executives, venture capitalists and academics.
Barrett called on the summit's attendees to support the U.N. GAID's flagship partnership initiatives and communities of expertise. The efforts focus on bringing broadband connectivity to Africa and advancing community-based computer centers. The initiatives also tackle other specific problem areas where technology can improve entrepreneurship, education, health care and government services. Barrett also said investments in new business models and technology solutions tailored for developing countries will help meet people's needs and create new markets and business opportunities.
Highlighting the importance of public-private partnerships focused on tangible results, Barrett also described the Intel World Ahead Program. By working with local governments and industries worldwide, the program aims to extend access to PCs with high-speed Internet connections to the next billion people. As part of this effort, Intel is working with governments in 60 countries on financing programs to make PCs more affordable. The company is also working with education ministries in 40 countries to train 9 million more teachers by 2011 to apply technology to improve learning -- with the possibility of reaching a billion students.
The opening remarks by Barrett, Hamadoun Touré, secretary-general of the International Telecommunications Union, and Farrukh Qayyum, Pakistan's secretary of IT and Telecom, are available at http://un-webcast.edgesuite.net/un/. The webcast will be available for replay through March 7. More information about the U.N. GAID is available at www.un-gaid.org.
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