The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,President Olusegun Obasanjo last week unveiled a novel initiative that will make personal computers more affordable to Nigerians.

The project, dubbed the ˜Computer for All Nigerians Initiative (CANi), is a partnership between the Federal Ministry of Science & Technology and Intel, Microsoft, Omatek, Zinox, Brian and Beta among other technology companies.

The formal launch and unveiling of the scheme will take place today at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.Its part of a broader drive to bring the benefits of information and communication technology to more Nigerians.

With the take-off of CANi, PCs for home use will now be available to workers in paid employment in the public and private sectors at affordable and easy payment terms. Payments can be structured over 24 months at competitive interest rates through employers and participating financial institutions.

The core aims of the initiative according to Soji Romeo, programme director of the Project Management Office (PMO), the independent body established to oversee and administer CANi. Are three fold.

"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", he added.

Speaking on the initiative, Intel's General Manager for Emerging Markets, Mark Beckford, said the company is 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 Program which aims to speed up cess to technology and information in developing nations by focussing 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, Gerald Ilukwe while commenting on the initiative, stated that the company believes strongly in CANi a fact reflected in Microsoft's significant investment in logistics and project support.

This Day