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FOUNDATION HISTORY

The OnLine Africa Foundation grew out of the OnLineAfrika Project (1993-98) which assisted African countries to develop telecommunications systems and Internet infrastructure. The Foundation developed in response to the question-"Once these new systems are in place, what sorts of innovative programs will they feature and how will these programs be financed?"

This dilemma led to the Foundation's first projects in Ghana and South Africa which were instrumental in adding educational and business value to Africa's first broadband data networks. In 1994, Dr. Z. Pallo Jordan, South Africa's first black Minister of Posts, Telecommunications and Broadcasting accepted our invitation to lead an official delegation to the US Trade and Development Administration which resulted in the acquisition of significant telecommunications contracts for several American companies. In 1995 and 1997, we secured a series of grants that enabled us to develop a series of applications that demonstrated how developing countries could use interactive information and media technologies to advance various development agendas.

We also worked with Dr. Thomas Odhiambo's Randforum for Science-led Development (Kenya) and the US Academy for Educational Development (Project LearnLink and National Demonstration Lab for Interactive Information Technologies) to secure USAID and World Bank InfoDEV grants. In addition, we assisted the rollout of the US-funded Leland Initiative for Internet Connectivity in Africa, US National Digital Library and the World Bank African Virtual University project. In 1997 we were recruited by MCI Communications whom we helped identify Internet-related business opportunities in Ghana. As consultants to the US Department of State, Government of South Africa, NYNEX Fibre Optic Link Around the Globe project and several African government ministries, we helped develop feasibility studies and sustainable applications that helped "leapfrog" Africa into the Digital Information Age.

In 2003, the Foundation launched the Soweto Centenary Project following the issuance of our research report and feasibility study that led to the discovery that Soweto Township was due to reach the 100 year mark in 2004. This project attracted the interest of many South Africans and resulted in the patronage of both Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former President Nelson Mandela.

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