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HP, Sonatel and Youssou N'Dour's Joko Inc. Announce Alliance to Bring Internet and e-Services to Senegalese Communities


Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE: HWP), Sonatel, Senegal's telecommunications services provider, and the celebrated African musician Youssou N'Dour's Joko Project today announced an alliance to broaden access to social and economic opportunities in Senegal through the use of the Internet.

The project intends to create "Joko" Clubs that will provide Internet connectivity, training and locally initiated solutions for Senegalese people living in urban, rural and expatriate communities.

"As part of HP's World e-Inclusion initiative, we are working with truly exceptional partners to provide e-services that open up access to the social and economic opportunities of the digital economy to all the people of Senegal," said Lyle Hurst, director, HP World e-Inclusion.

HP, Joko Inc. and Sonatel plan to work together to catalyze the formation of a locally based Internet culture through The Joko Project. HP intends to use its resources to assist in initial funding and the development of e-services. Sonatel intends to assist in providing access to telecommunications infrastructure. Joko Inc. created the original Joko project plan and will provide local business management. Other development and funding partners are expected to participate in the project.

"The Joko partnership exemplifies Sonatel's social commitment and supporting business strategy to harness the power of telecommunications for the benefit of every member of Senegalese society," said Tidiane M'Baye, director general, Sonatel.

The Joko project is designed to create highly localized cultural and community content. Anticipated commercial, social and consumer e-services to be provided through Joko clubs include:

  • communication through e-mail, chat, bulletin boards, audio clips and Joko cams;
  • educational services to help youth acquire basic skills and vocational training through direct and distant instruction;
  • financial services, facilitating financial transactions and transfers;
  • employment, through job marketplaces, counseling and financing for microenterprises; and
  • health services and telemedicine.
"Within a year, the Joko project will show the world what is possible when the Internet is available to transform the wealth of African tradition into a new culture of opportunity," said N'Dour, who, in a career spanning more than 20 years has frequently used his prominence as the most successful African performer to bring attention to pressing social issues.

The Boston Consulting Group, which has been working with HP's World e-Inclusion team to develop economically sustainable business models, acted as a key consulting advisor on the project.

About Youssou N'Dour and Joko Inc.

Youssou N'Dour, with his legendary Super Etoile band, plays Senegalese roots music with what The Los Angeles Times says is "a joyous precision" and what The New York Times has called "a searing combination of passion and gentleness." The exhortatory lyrics of his 1990 album "Set" generated a groundswell of activity among young people in the ghettos of Senegalese cities, culminating in a grassroots urban ecological movement which came to be known as "Set-Setaal" ("Be Clean"), after the title of N'Dour's album, which included painting and refurbishing of housing and improvement of water-supply and sanitary facilities, all without significant government intervention. N'Dour's new album (released by Nonesuch Records on Sept. 5, 2000), titled "Joko (The Link)," his first U.S. release in six years, is a Grammy award nominee.

Joko Inc. is a Senegalese company founded in 2000 by N'Dour to use the Internet to create opportunities for African youth.

About Sonatel

Sonatel is Senegal's principal telecommunications service provider and has developed one of Africa's most extensive telecommunications infrastructures, second only to South Africa. Sonatel was created in 1985 by the fusion of the two entities previously charged with internal and external telecommunications development in Senegal. Sonatel became an independent company in 1997 in a strategic partnership with France Telecom, which today owns 42.33 percent of Sonatel's capital.

About World e-Inclusion

World e-Inclusion extends HP's business focus to traditionally underserved markets, with an emphasis on sustainable business ventures that improve the livelihoods of the roughly 4 billion people who have very low incomes in Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. Working with partners, HP is inventing and integrating the necessary technology, products and e-services to deliver relevant solutions to benefit the poor in the developing world.

About HP

Hewlett-Packard Company -- a leading global provider of computing and imaging solutions and services -- is focused on making technology and its benefits accessible to individuals and businesses through simple appliances, useful e-services and an Internet infrastructure that's always on.

HP has 88,500 employees worldwide and had total revenue from continuing operations of $48.8 billion in its 2000 fiscal year. Information about HP and its products can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.hp.com.

About HP

HP Inc. creates technology that makes life better for everyone, everywhere. Through our portfolio of printers, PCs, mobile devices, solutions, and services, we engineer experiences that amaze. More information about HP Inc. is available at http://www.hp.com.