African localisation experts met in Casablanca in a workshop organised by Kabissa with Bisharat under IDRC funding, and in collaboration with MTDS and the Casablanca Technopark centre. The event benefitted from contributions from the Moroccan Minister-Delegate to the Prime Minister in Charge of General and Economic Affairs, the Canadian Ambassador to Morocco, and experts from other continents.
After three days of work, the participants in the meeting reached the following conclusions:
- Limiting people to the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in a foreign language tends to exacerbate the digital divide; makes ICT adoption long, difficult, and expensive; and impoverishes local culture.
- Localisation makes ICT more accessible to everybody, including users from rural areas and young students, reinforcing the importance of our culture and helping us preserve our identity.
- Localisation of ICT into indigenous African languages is therefore key to rapid and fair development in Africa.
- For localisation to succeed and have its maximum impact in society, collaboration among governments, civil society, educators, linguists, computer professionals, standards organisations and development agencies is necessary.
We, the participants, commit ourselves to promoting this vision and working towards social development in Africa through ICT localisation.
Casablanca, 15 June 2005