From the very beginning, Nicholas Negroponte has put forth the idea that developing world governments would buy the One Laptop Per Child
$100 laptop CM1 2B1 XO Children's Machine. That the now $208 million dollar minimum laptop purchase price would replace school book outlays in national budgets.
Our number crunching of the education budget for Argentina and the whole national budget of Nigeria, two of the richer OLPC target countries disproves that notion quite easily - a one laptop per child computer purchase would bankrupt most of the populous developing world countries.
So if developing countries cannot afford a full OLPC purchase, who will step up to buy the OLPC's for countries who want a shiny green laptop now that Quanta confirmed production?
Sources tell me that developing country governments have already asked bilaterals, like the United States Agency for International Development and the Canadian International Development Agency, for funding and were turned down. While they may be representing rich countries, the bilaterals don't have a spare $200+ million for Negroponte's grand technology plan.
Sources also tell me that the multilaterals like the World Bank and the United Nations are approached daily by developing would countries asking for multi-million dollar OLPC technology transfers. Rebuffed there too, Ministries seduced by Negroponte's pitch are looking at other options for $200 million dollar fund raising.
And where might an Angola or a Democratic Republic of Congo turn for techo-largess?
Libya's Muammar al-Qaddafi
Regardless of your opinion of the One Laptop Per Child program, do you really want countries like Libya or China donating educational tools to the developing world? Might there be a slight conflict of interest if Libya, who once even invaded Chad, were to now donate educational technology to Chad? Might China, which produces the OLPC XO Children's Machine in Qaunta Computer's Changshu factory, be a little disingenuous in donating computers it will not buy for its own populace?
Might it be best for any country interested in the One Laptop Per Child program to start small - implementing an affordable limited pilot program of a few hundred computers first. And then rolling the program out slowly, only when OLPC's prove their long-term benefit to both students and budgets?
Might that be way too much to ask when Ministries are blinded by techno-lust and a "cheap" techno-fix?