On Friday, November 20, the East African Community launched One Laptop per Child as a regional partner, during the 10th Anniversary Celebration at the Secretariat Office in Arusha, Tanzania. This annual Summit is the highest organ of the East African Community and it gives general directions and impetus for the development and achievement of the objectives of the Community.
Matt Keller, head of OLPC’s Global Advocacy, made a moving and compelling presentation to the assembled audience and heads of state, including President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of Tanzania, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda, President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi, and H.E. Amani Abeid Karume, President of Zanzibar. The audience included the EAC Council of Ministers, other members of EAC and EALA, and Honorable Speakers. Invited guests included foreign dignitaries and Chief Executives of regional and international organizations, and members of the European Parliament, United Nations, African Development Bank, and COMESA.
Following Matt’s presentation, Ambassador Juma Mwapachu (current Secretary General of the EAC) announced the launch of OLPC as a regional partner. A memorandum of Understanding between EAC and OLPC will be signed before the end of the year. Matt met the six Presidents and gave each of them an XO. Since our learning team moved to Rwanda to set up a learning center in Kigali, the region has become increasingly important to OLPC. It was a great honor for Matt and I to attend this historic event, and together with everyone at OLPC we look forward to working with the EAC, EALA and the People of East Africa to bring laptops to children in the region.