RealTime IT News

Bridging the Divide

[JOHANNESBERG, SOUTH AFRICA] - An international non-profit organization, Bridges.org - believing South Africa to be central in digitally empowering the developing world - has opened an office in Cape Town.

"We believe that by helping South Africa succeed, we can have the greatest impact in the broader region and around the globe," said Teresa Peters, Executive Director of the organisation.

Bridges.org will be working with President Mbekis information and communications technology (ICT) task force and the Cape IT Initiative (CITI) in tackling the impediments that hinder technological integration and e-commerce both locally and throughout the developing world. Hoping to act as a catalyst between government, the business community and non-government organizations (NGOs), the organisation will be promoting laws and policies that advance technology and advocating technological awareness at a grass roots level.

By participating in the G8 Digital Opportunity Task Force (DOT Force) initiative the organisation also hopes to bring together under-represented private sector and NGO voices from throughout the developing world.

The Cape Town office will also act as home to the organisation's bridges.tech.guide project, a free learning tool that will train participants in the use of computer applications whilst addressing the social issues surrounding technological empowerment.

Prominent SA Net entrepreneurs and community advocates like Mark Shuttleworth, Esther Dyson, John Perry Barlow, Stewart Baker, and Johan Helsingius -- some of whom are already involved in the ICT Task Force - will serve on bridges.org's board of directors.

"South Africa is pivotal in the fight to bridge the digital divide and I'm extremely pleased that bridges.org will establish a strong presence here as a base for its operations throughout the continent," stated Dyson.