Liberia: Microsoft to Build High-Tech Schools in Liberia

15 September 2006

The Executive Mansion has disclosed that Microsoft, the world's largest technology company, has pledged to build ten technology community centers across Liberia to address the nation's IT capacity in the country.

The revelation was contained in a statement released yesterday by the Executive Mansion in a dispatch from the United States, where President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is currently visiting.

According to the statement, a copy of which was served this paper, Microsoft, which, is owned by Billionaire Bill Gate, made the pledge to build the ten centers through its Senior Director for Communication Affairs Division, Dr. Akhtar Badshah.

The statement quoted Dr. Badshah as saying that preliminary talks to assist Liberia when it comes to developing its technology base, is taking place between the country and the company.

"One project under discussion would involve training teachers, students and administrators in the use of technology. Another proposal focuses on helping Liberians develop computer literacy skills through community technology centers," the statement quoted Deputy State Minister for Communications and Technology, Amara Konneh who is also in the United States with the President.

For his part, Microsoft's Senior Director of Communication, Akhtar A. Badshah, also said that the company is in preliminary talks with the Liberian government about helping Liberia develop its technology base.

In response, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said that a strong technology and communications program will make the government more accessible to all Liberians and would help with the education, health care and economic development of the country.

The statement said that President Sirleaf made these assertions when she spoke to an audience-filled hall at the Georgia Tech, based in the United States of America on the second leg of a swing by several Atlantic universities.

President Sirleaf said that access to technology remains one of the greatest challenges facing Liberia in the immediate future.

The Liberian leader added that firstly, basic technology is needed for the nation, admitting that she herself has some catching up to do as it relates to the information supper headway.

President Sirleaf jokingly told her audience that she was so far behind, when it comes to learning technology.

President Sirleaf said she would like to see partnership between the country and American Universities and corporations.

According to President Sirleaf, if this partnership plan succeeds, Liberian could become a regional information, technology and communication hub for West Africa.

On Tuesday of this week, President Sirleaf who departed the country last Friday visited the Emory and Clark Atlanta universities, where she spoke on the importance of education and investment in rejuvenating Liberia.

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