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The Virtual Colombo Plan - Australian Development

The Virtual Colombo Plan - Australian Development Gateway

I am pleased to announce today the launch of the Australian Development Gateway. Australia is the first OECD nation to produce such a portal.

The Australian Development Gateway is one of the many 'country' gateways being established around the world within the framework of the Development Gateway Foundation. This is a not- for- profit organisation based in Washington DC. Its aim is the world-wide sharing of information and knowledge on sustainable development and poverty reduction.

Australia is a founding member of the Foundation and is contributing $10 million over three years in support of it.

The new website will enable developing countries to access links to Australian organisations involved in the three important areas of education, health and agriculture.

By logging onto users will be able to take advantage of a wealth of Australian expertise offered by a range of selected leading organisations and institutions.

These include the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, the Australian Council for Educational Research, Education Network Australia and the National Office for the Information Economy. Over time new knowledge partners and topics, including access to material on governance, will be added to the Gateway. On line data and training will also be offered.

The Australian Gateway is one of a range of activities being undertaken as part of the innovative and important Virtual Colombo Plan. In August last year, I launched the Plan together with James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank.

The Virtual Colombo Plan is a joint effort by Australia and the World Bank to bridge the growing gap between countries that are information-rich and those that are information-poor, through the use of new technologies. Australia is contributing $200 million over five years to the project and the World Bank $1.3 billion.

The production of this Gateway is a significant element of the Virtual Colombo Plan and demonstrates Australia's commitment to using new technologies to delivering development assistance.

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