[WSIS CS-Plenary] Casablanca Statement on ICT Localisation in Africa
r_correia at telkomsa.net
Tue Jun 21 17:42:27 BST 2005
[Statement follows after my note on localisation]
For those not familiar with the concept, Localisation is defined as:
The process of adapting software for use by users of different languages or
in different geographic regions. Localisation has to do with the language
and script of users (Arabic, Latin, Bengali, etc), and is distinct from
script enabling, which has to do with the script in which language data is
written. The localisation process may include such modifications as
translating user-interface text, translating help files and documentation,
changing icons, modifying the visual design of dialog boxes, etc. Sometimes
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
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
We, the participants, commit ourselves to promoting this vision and working
towards social development in Africa through ICT localisation.
Casablanca, 15 June 2005
Advocacy, Media and Language Consultant
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