The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has provided US$2 million (approximately J$226 million) to finance a project to provide Jamaicans with increased access to Information and communication technologies (ICT) services, as well as training to promote personal, organizational and national development.
The grant will also fund a mandatory programme of advocacy and sensitization of decision-makers to the value of libraries in the country’s development process, Minister of Education, Ronald Thwaites, told the House of Representatives, as he tabled a Ministry Paper in Parliament giving details of the agreement.
The project costs US$3.1 million (approximately J$350 million). The Jamaican government will donate the other US$1.1 million (approximately $123 million)
Thwaites said that beneficiaries will include users of public libraries islandwide, including marginalized groups, senior citizens, persons from rural and inner-city communities, the unemployed and persons with disabilities, including the visually impaired, and ordinary citizens seeking information about self-improvement.
“The marketing plan, which envisages a major campaign to make Jamaicans aware of the project and its deliverables, and will increase the number of library users, is being finalized for implementation commencing in November,” he said.
American business magnate, philanthropist, investor, computer programmer, and inventor, Bill Gates, is the former chief executive and chairperson of Microsoft, the world’s largest personal-computer software company, which he co-founded with Paul Allen.
He is consistently ranked in the Forbes list of the world’s wealthiest people and was the wealthiest overall from 1995 to 2009—excluding 2008, when he was ranked third.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires List, Gates became the world’s richest person again in May 2013, and held that position until Carlos Slim, whose America Movil telecoms company once owned Claro Jamaica. However, as of October 2014, he is again the richest person in the world.
Another rich American, Warren Buffett, helps to shape the vision and develop strategies to address some of the world’s most challenging inequities through the Gates’ foundation.