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Kudos for Rwanda and S. Africa

Discussion in 'Tech, Gadgets & Science Forum' started by ByaseL, Jul 1, 2009.

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    ByaseL JF-Expert Member

    Jul 1, 2009
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    by Charles Onyango Obbo

    Two other events might, in the months to come influence public attitudes in Uganda as, indeed, the rest of Africa. One, was the surprisingly well-organised Confederations Cup in South Africa, a test run for World Cup 2010.
    The other was two reports about Rwanda. One, a report in TechCrunch, perhaps the world’s most influential web blog on new information technology was on Rwanda’s digital ambitions, and even more significant a few weeks earlier when Rwanda became the first developing country to launch a national immunisation programme against Pneumococcal disease

    Rwanda and the TechCrunch article on Rwanda’s digital ambitions. There are some things that are not unique to Rwanda. What is different is in the detail of the country’s journey to a digital nirvana: “Rwanda sends 300 students at a time to India Institute of Technology to develop skills in hardware, software and telecom they can bring back to their country….” This in a continent where state scholarships died ages ago, or are hijacked by State House.
    And there is more.

    The One Laptop per Child project just opened a computer-learning centre in Rwanda’s capital city. However, TechCrunch reports, the Rwandan government isn’t going to leave it up to others. “The country itself is buying 100,000 low-cost laptops in the next year to distribute between teachers and students in the country.”

    A few weeks earlier, Rwanda became the first developing country to introduce a national vaccination programme for Pneumococcal disease, which can cause life-threatening illnesses such as pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis which take the lives of 1.6 million people every year- including up to one million children under give years of age worldwide (most in developing countries).

    One of the organisations behind the Rwanda Pneumococcal programme is, yes, you guessed right, Gavi, the one that gave Uganda millions of dollars that we stole to buy votes in the 2006 elections and build nice mansions in the famed Global Fund scandal.

    Said Dr Lob-Levyt, CEO of the Gavi Alliance, at the launch: “We applaud the Rwanda government for taking this step, and we are proud to join them in launching a new era in the delivery of vaccines to close the gap between rich and poor countries and improve child mortality throughout the developing world.” The contrast with the Uganda Gavi story could not be bigger.

    Rwanda’s case tells us that it’s not unreasonable for a poor African world country to dream of leap-frogging and reaching First World status in selected areas. It’s achievable.

    We end with South Africa. There were worries about whether South Africa would be ready for the World Cup in 2010. They looked very good during the Confederation Cup, and will do it.

    You might say South Africa is “not a typical African country”. Still, if you add on attention-grabbing efforts of small countries like Rwanda, I see us moving ever closer to a point where it will no longer be possible for Africa’s laggards to blame slavery, colonialism, and an “unfair” global trading system for all our continued misery.