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1998-02-21 23:47:30


Third World Countries: No Y2K Plans, No Money



Life is full of hard choices. Do I put this under Too Late or Domino Effect? Or under Imported Data? Or Government? Or even Banking?

Wherever it's posted, it spells bad news.

On Friday the 13th in March, the World Bank will close off new applications on how to give (uh, loan) $250,000 of Western money to third world nations so that they can make their computers compliant. Well, not quite. The money will go to making third wortld leaders more aware. How? By creating something called a tool kit.

So, third world leaders are not to stage one of the repair: awareness (1%).

They will hold seminars until January, 1999. Then the leaders will presumably mandate stage two: inventory (1%).

When that's finished, they will have only 98% of the project ahead of them.

This means that they are so far behind, there is no rational hope. The "lending" agency says it will take until 2005 to get their computers fixed. Got that? 2005. Don't like a deadline? Well, just defer it. Pass a law. Announce it in the Federal Register. Whatever.

Remember, our computers interact with their computers. If our computers are comploiant in 2000, they had better not interact with third world computers.

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Request for Applications for a Grant Related to Addressing the Year 2000 Problem in Developing Countries    DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS 5:30PM FRIDAY MARCH, 13, 1998

1. Introduction

1.1 The Information for Development Program (infoDev) is concerned that developing countries are slow to begin the work necessary to convert information systems to avoid the Year 2000 problem (Y2K), will have difficulty allocating the large amounts of resources appropriate to the problem, and may face serious disruption in many sectors in the next five years due to Y2K computer failures. infoDev therefore proposes to make a grant of up to $250,000 to the proponent providing the best proposal on how to assist and stimulate developing countries to take a more proactive approach in dealing with the Y2K problem.

  1.2 The objective of this grant will be to encourage national governments to define or improve national strategies to address the Y2K problem. The focus of such strategies would presumably include policies for correction of the problems in government computer systems but would also focus on the Y2K problem as it relates to broader civil society, and especially those portions of the private sector in which computer functions are critical. It is anticipated that grant funds will be used to develop a toolkit to assist key developing country stakeholders to consider and take action on the problem, and to disseminate the toolkit and otherwise raise consciousness in developing countries of the problem.

  1.3 Any institution, organization or firm, either non-profit or for profit, is invited to submit a proposal to execute the tasks. . . .

2.2 The proposal should briefly consider the dimensions of the Y2K problem. It should set priorities as to geographic areas, sectors, and key institutions. On the basis of such considerations it should identify the key groups that will be targeted, the nature of their concerns and the actions it might be useful to stimulate them to take. It is expected that the key target groups would include government decision makers, but also might include representatives of potentially important international bodies, and representatives of non-governmental groups that would be influential. On this basis, the construction of the toolkit should be outlined. A plan for dissemination of results and consciousness-raising provided. . . .

1.1 The Year 2000 Problem (Y2K) involves the likelihood of huge numbers of computer errors in the next few years from confounding dates between the 20th and 21st centuries. It results from the practice of using only two digits rather than four to designate the calendar year in computer programs. Remediation of this problem is estimated to cost billions of dollars worldwide, and poses significant challenges for business and government operations in developing countries. This infoDev project will generate a Toolkit of information and will design a worldwide campaign to raise awareness, and help governments and industry to put together a national (Y2K) program quickly.

  1.2 This grant will be used for assembling the toolkit discussed below, and for designing an awareness campaign. . . .

2.3 The principal objectives of the toolkit will be to assist officials to formulate a national strategy which: identifies the extent of the problem, prioritizes actions to be taken, and provides guidance on utilization of professional assistance. The toolkit should serve as a reference for both the range of activities that are possible in a Y2K strategy, and a listing of sources of assistance for groups putting together such a strategy. . . .

2.7 The grantee also will design a strategy of presenting the toolkit at seminars in key cities worldwide. The seminars will be organized around the toolkit, and senior government officials and industry leaders will be invited to each regional event. Leaders will be selected on the basis of ability to attend the seminar and likelihood that they will play a role in further disseminating this information and influencing Y2K decision-making in their own organization. . . .

  4.1 The grantee is expected to complete the toolkit within three months of award of the grant. A dissemination strategy should be completed within 30 days of completion of the toolkit. Seminar activities may continue until January, 1999.


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