Microsoft donates US$1 billion

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Microsoft today announced a technology partnership, in which Microsoft would donate US$1 billion in cash and software for five-year long IT learning projects in developing countries such as Egypt, Mozambique, Morocco and Afghanistan.

  • E-Mail
By  Maddy Reddy Published  January 25, 2004

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Microsoft Corp. today announced a technology partnership, in which Microsoft would donate more than US$1 billion in cash and software for five-year long IT learning projects in developing countries such as Egypt, Mozambique, Morocco and Afghanistan. “The scale of the program we have here is quite unusual in terms of corporate giving. It’s US$1 billion over five years and that represents both cash and software. Already we've put out US$50 million. We've got plans in place for what we are going to do in Egypt, Morocco and Mozambique - that are quite concrete,” says Microsoft chairman Bill Gates. He made the announcement at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. According to the partnership, the United Nations will work with Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential program to invest in community centers in poor regions where people can learn how to use personal computers and enhance their job prospects. The announcement follows a pilot project in Afghanistan where the two organisations set up centers at 16 locations, aiming to train 12,000 users this year. United Nations Development Program administrator Mark Malloch Brown said the ambition was ‘to hook up the world to the internet’ in other regions such as Egypt, Mozambique and Morocco. “We welcome Microsoft’s help. Already more than 500 to 600 IT learning centers have been set up in Egypt,” says Ahmed Mahmoud Nazif, Egypt’s minister of IT and communications. Under the agreement, Microsoft and UNDP will identify opportunities to build on their existing programs and resources, combining technology innovation with development experience to benefit the world's poor. By strengthening community centers in developing countries, the partnership will play a valuable role in helping communities cultivate the skills required for success in today's information society. While Microsoft did not offer details about how much of the US$1 billion would be spent on the program with the United Nations, Microsoft said it would donate cash and the latest versions of its software (Windows XP, Office 2003 and server software) and added that all the centers had the choice to use alternative software and operating systems such as Unix, Linux and Macintosh. Most governments in developing countries such as Brazil, China, Thailand and other Asian and Middle Eastern governments have shown keen interest to support and use Linux to save costs and avoid being tied down to one vendor.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code