Programmes to boost household PC penetration

Access to a personal computer (PC) has been identified in certain developing countries as being a key part of national digital access programmes. Algeria, Egypt, Malaysia, Nigeria, and Tunisia have active programmes designed to enhance the availability and use of PCs.

Both Egypt and Malaysia are part of a public-private partnership programme that has been used in other countries, such as Japan, Singapore, the UK, and the USA.

Each country uses incentives to progress the uptake of PCs - and Internet penetration and use - amongst both general and specifically targeted populaces. There are related penetration targets that are generally published by each country, and early indications show that there have been improvements in these rates.

In general, the programmes rely on financial incentives such as the provision of easy, secure and/or favourable financing terms, lower than market costs, and tax exemptions.

Country Examples
Algeria has a family ICT programme named OUSRATIC which aims to have a PC in each household by 2010. The Algerian government has introduced affordable pricing, low-cost financing, and interest subsidies on loans in an attempt to progress this initiative. After two years of operation, the number of PCs sold totalled 200,000. More information is available at www.ousratic.dz

Egypt has introduced the PC for Every Home Initiative through its Egypt PC 2010 – Nation Online programme.  This seeks to reach three million families by the end of 2010 with a particular focus on its group C and D economic bracket populaces (i.e., those with lower incomes). This is a public-private partnership arrangement which includes major international ICT companies. This cooperation is accredited with realizing discounts of up to 50% on the price of hardware, with three categories of PCs provided and a monthly instalment programme offered.

The Egyptian programme has also had improvements made to it that include the introduction of electronic payment, a dedicated call centre service, extended PC warranties, and the provision of loans through normal credit banking procedures. More information is available at www.mcit.gov.eg/ict_access.aspx#Nation

The Malaysian government announced in its 2008 Budget that it has targeted an increase in the broadband penetration rate to 50 percent of households by 2010 (up from twelve percent in September 2007). In order to help achieve this penetration and make certain that broadband is in fact used, both import and sales taxes will be made exempt from broadband equipment and from consumer access devices (e.g., PCs).  Further, a tax deduction scheme will be put in place for employers and employees on the purchase of new computers and the payment of broadband subscription fees.

The Computer for All Nigerians Initiative (CANi) is a government programme aimed at expanding the use of computers in Nigeria by some 500,000 units over the next two years.  Similar to other initiatives, this is a public-private partnership that is aimed at those who are currently underserved.  The programme will provide PCs to participating employers at up to a 30% discount on normal market prices. Employers are then encouraged to discount an additional 20% off the normal market price to its employees, and to offer affordable monthly payment rates. The financing will then be guaranteed by the employing organization and the repayment may be taken through direct salary deductions over a 24 month period.  More information is available at www.cani-nigeria.org/index.htm

Tunisia’s Family Computer Programme offers favourable financing for PCs from a list of suppliers approved by government.  Loans and payment facilities are offered at low rates of interest, and ceilings are set for the total cost of a PC for either a desktop or a lap top.

The goal is to ensure universal access to IT, and the programme claims to have doubled the PC penetration rate in its first three years of operation.  Some 5,000 PCs are provided to low income families in this manner annually, and the objective is to reach a 19% household penetration by 2009.  More information is available at www.infocom.tn/index.php?id=287
 

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