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Three million Swiss Francs pledged for Scale-up Initiative of Community Multimedia Centres in Africa
UNESCO launched a special initiative Wednesday to scale up Community Multimedia Centres (CMCs) in Mali, Mozambique and Senegal at the ICT4D Platform of the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva.

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Three million Swiss Francs pledged for Scale-up Initiative of Community Multimedia Centres in Africa

10-12-2003 ()
UNESCO launched a special initiative Wednesday to scale up Community Multimedia Centres (CMCs) in Mali, Mozambique and Senegal at the ICT4D Platform of the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva.
The Swiss government pledged three million Swiss Francs for the scale up plan and will assist UNESCO in further fund raising efforts. Director-General, Koďchiro Matsuura said that UNESCO is committed to make the scale-up initiative a resounding success to ensure that marginalised communities in the three countries have a point of entry into the Information Society. The Presidents of Mali, Mozambique and Senegal attended the launch and expressed their commitment to the initiative. The programme aims to establish 50 community multimedia centres (CMC) in each of the three African countries and will bring together a consortium of national and international stakeholders from all sectors.

“Our challenge now is to “scale-up” – from micro to macro, from pilot projects to widely accessible facilities,” noted the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, in a special message delivered at the launch. “Community access to information technology resources is essential if the digital divide is to be bridged in the developing world.”

“Local communities need ICT to respect and provoke cultural and linguistic diversity, to allow the illiterate to communicate using voice mail, to further support organization and strategic planning by local groups and community networks. CMCs are the way forward for long lasting results in grassroots development,” stated the Director General of the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, Walter Fust.

Former Education Minister of Mali and Chair of the ICT4D Platform, Adama Samassékou, announced that the initiative is “a perfect example of what should be expected from ICT for development. In line with the Summit goals, CMCs harness the power of knowledge and information to empower people, reduce poverty and improve lives.”

“Community access to information technology resources is essential if the digital divide is to be bridged in the developing world. I congratulate all those who are making possible this creative, concrete contribution to the World Summit on the Information Society”, noted Kofi Annan in his message.

He went on to call the scale-up initiative “a tremendous platform inspired by the success of individual community multimedia centres that allow local communities to run their own radio station, use telephones and the Internet, and access other information services and training”.

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