Innovative low-cost ICT solutions are boosting development in Africa and Latin America
NComputing Inc., a globally operating specialist in low-cost computing, and the Dutch International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD), an international organisation specialised in the use of ICTs for development, have signed a cooperation agreement to bring low-cost ICT solutions based on NComputing’s virtual desktops to governments and non-government organisations in Africa and South America.
“For education, training, and e-governance, it is an absolute requirement that our partner organisations can reduce capital and operating costs, increase energy efficiency, and minimise installation and maintenance costs,” said Dr. Stijn van der Krogt, Director of Country Programs at IICD. “NComputing provides these key benefits, and we will present hard data based on our experiences to our partner organisations and governments. When they see that innovative new technologies such as these virtual desktops can improve the efficiency of ICT in so many areas, they invariably want to replicate the success.”
Rural information models
The best way to demonstrate the advantages of desktop virtualisation as a solution that lowers costs, reduces power consumption, and cuts the need for maintenance and management is with real-world projects. And that is what initial projects in Bolivia, Zambia, and Burkina Faso will do.
In Bolivia, IICD is working with local organisations to improve communication and information access for 500,000 indigenous people. Information centres are being set up in rural areas to serve provincial authorities and farmer associations, and such broader access to ICT tools and information drives better decisions and legitimisation of land titles.
In Burkina Faso, IICD and NComputing are setting up model classrooms with the Ministry of Secondary Education. These facilities are used for ICT instruction and innovation in secondary education. NComputing solutions have already been broadly deployed and proven in K-12 (primary/secondary) schools in over 100 countries, and bringing this technology to Burkina Faso will allow more efficient spending of limited ICT budgets and aid grants from international NGOs.
In Zambia, IICD is working with the Ministry of Sport, Youth and Child Development, which provides and manages Youth Resource centres. The centres offer non-formal skills training and entrepreneurship support to out-of-school youth. Access to ICT is a key requirement in these centres, and the NComputing-based solution allows broader dissemination of vital health, e-governance, environment, and agriculture information.
“By reducing costs so drastically, NComputing has become a significant component of sustainable global development, and we are pleased to partner with IICD,” said Stephen Dukker, Chairman and CEO of NComputing. “Governments and aid agencies need to stretch every dollar or euro they have, and our solution not only addresses the capital costs but also the on-going maintenance, green, and support costs of ICT labs, where typical savings can run to more than 70 per cent over the life of the project.”