Libya Purchases 1.2M OLPC Laptops

A quick follow up to recent OLPC post, it appears that the initiative has secured its first purchaser. Libya has agreed to provide each and every one of its school children with a laptop. From the article:
The government of Libya is reported to have agreed to provide its 1.2m school children with a cheap durable laptop computer by June 2008.
The laptops offer internet access and are powered by a wind-up crank. They cost $100 and manufacturing begins next year, says One Laptop per Child.
The non-profit association's chairman, Nicholas Negroponte, said the deal was reached on Tuesday in Libya.

It's great to see a country finally commit to this. Tentative purchase agreements with Brazil, Argentina, Nigeria and Thailand have been announced in the past. There is even talk of the possibility of Libya’s financing the purchase of laptops for a group of poorer African nations like Chad, Niger and Rwanda. Libya has come a long way in the last 10 years or so. While they're still remembered by many as a terrorist state from yesteryear, the reality is that these days they have one of the highest standard of living in Africa, the highest Human Development Index in Africa and one of the highest GDPs in Africa. A commitment to this initiative shows that Qaddafi is serious about a more open Libya. It's especially surprising to me that a a dictatorship was the first to move forward with the OLPC effort. Education can be a tenuous line for a dictatorship, for fear that a more educated population will rise up. The OLPC has the chance to really make an education difference. An old proverb says “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” In effect, the OLPC has the potential to teach people how to learn anything, and give them the means to actually do so. That's powerful.
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