Nepad's e-Schools initiative, described as the largest multi-country ICT education project attempted in Africa, has been launched in Pretoria.

The Nepad e-Schools Initiative comes after the World Economic Forum's Africa Economic Summit in 2003, and is aimed at bridging the digital divide in Africa. It will equip schools with ICT labs and the tools students need to be able to use ICT.

Representatives from various countries, including Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Gabon, Kenya, Senegal, Uganda and Mozambique, are attending the launch and workshop.

Communications minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri said in her keynote address this morning that to date, 15 governments in the first phase of the programme had selected six secondary schools each to be included in the demo project. The guidelines for selection were provided by the e-Africa Commission, she added.

The demo project will help to determine best practice and working models for the large-scale implementation of the Nepad e-Schools initiative.

“It will be the largest multi-country ICT education project attempted anywhere in the world in terms of its scope, extent, variety and government participation in partnership with corporate sector and civil society organisations,” said the minister.