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With last week's launch of Computers for All Nigerians Initiative' (CANI), Zinox is leading a cast of other Nigerian computer manufacturers.....
With last week's launch of Computers for All Nigerians Initiative' (CANI), Zinox is leading a cast of other Nigerian computer manufacturers and a splash of some foreign ones in major government initiative to bring IT closer to the Nigerian people.
The initiative will make personal computers available at more affordable prices.
The project, dubbed the 'Computers for All Nigerians Initiative' (CANi), is a public-private partnership sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Microsoft and Intel who are in a bundled relationship with leading Nigerian computer manufacturers, Zinox, Omatek, Brian and Beta Computers. The foreign manufacturers are HP and IBM. President Olusegun Obasanjo launched the initiative at the Presidential Villa in Abuja last week.
Like the major Zinox initiative, Computerize Nigeria, which was designed years ago to put computers in homes and offices at very affordable rates and has been largely successful, CANi will mean that from the day of launch, PCs for home use will be available to people in paid employment in the public or private sector for installments starting from less than N5000 per month. Payments can be structured over 24 months at reduced interest rates through employers and participating financial institutions.
"Our core aims are threefold," explained Mr. Soji Romeo, programme director of the Project Management Office (PMO), the independent body established to oversee and administer CANI.
"We are here to provide affordable technology that meets the unique needs of the Nigerian home computer market, develop the local computer hardware and software economy, and to improve Nigerians' computer literacy and, thus, stimulate the use of technology in our lives."
There are different categories of PCs and laptops available under CANi, including an entry-level model which will run Microsoft's Windows XP Starter Edition - a version of the Windows operating system designed for first-time PC users released in Nigeria early this year.
The PCs are based on Intel processors and are assembled locally by Zinox, Omatek, HP, IBM, Brian and Beta Computers. Eligible users will benefit from Microsoft Office and other applications, enabling them to get up, running and productive with the minimum effort.
Commenting on the development after the launch, Zinox boss, Mr. Leo Stan Ekeh said that it was major policy direction that was capable of opening up the country's IT sector, adding that it was a major opportunity for Nigerian computer makers to demonstrate their capabilities. For Zinox," he continued, "it is a walk on a familiar terrain having introduced Computerised Nigeria, a similar project, followed by bold incursions into other West African countries, like Ghana, Sierra Leone and Gambia where Zinox systems were used to power the African Union, AU, summit recently."
While an excited Omatek boss, Mrs. Florence Seriki enthused that it was a great opportunity for the country's system makers to help to contribute to putting more affordable computers in homes and offices. "Omatek," she said, "will play its role in the venture."
"CANi underscores the commitment of this administration to the empowerment of the Nigerian worker by making affordable and quality computers available to them at all times," said Professor Cleopas Angaye, director-general/CEO of NITDA (National Information Technology Development Agency).
"Such deliberative effort will no doubt go a long way towards driving the reform programme of the government. It is also our conviction that any nation which fails to provide its citizens with adequate information communication technology tools will remain backward in these highly-competitive times."
Intel's GM for Emerging Markets, Mr. Mark Beckford, said that the company was committed to making PC technology more broadly available to people in developing nations.
"Digital inclusion programmes, such as CANi, form part of Intel's global World Ahead Programme which aims to speed up access to technology and information in developing nations by focusing on the three key areas of accessibility, connectivity and education. The focus needs to be on delivering products and technologies that are specifically designed to meet the unique needs and usage models of developing markets like Nigeria," he added.
Microsoft's GM for Nigeria, Mr. Gerald Ilukwe, agreed, confirming that the company believed strongly in CANI - a fact reflected in Microsoft's significant investment in logistics and project support.
"CANi is a solid reflection of how technology can be a catalyst for economic and social change around Africa. It also expands our collaboration with the Federal Government and reaffirms Microsoft's drive to invest in national development in Nigeria wherever possible," he said.
"Through Windows XP Starter Edition, we are enabling and supporting a personal computing solution that is tailored, localised and priced to meet the needs of a country like Nigeria. As a result, we hope to create opportunities for local communities to realise the social and economic potential of the digital ecosystem in Nigeria."
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