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Computer for All Program starts

The first, pilot stage of Computer for All Program initiated by the RA Ministry of Economy, the Enterprise Incubator Foundation (EIF), Hewlett Packard, Unicomp, Microsoft, companies, ACBA Credit Agricole Bank, and some other partners starts. It envisages the opportunity of purchasing some 500 affordable computers for residents of Yerevan, Vanadzor, and Gyumri. As in his opening word at the Program launch inaugura­tion ceremony held in Yerevan Hotel on 17 September EIF Director Bagrat Yengibaryan said, all "theoretical" packages devel­oped by the above mentioned orga­nizations and related to marketing of PCs (i.e. demand among the users, computer price policy, com­puter education for both sellers and users of computers, and the bank­ing mechanisms) will be tested. Software for these computers will be put to the test as well. This pilot stage will last 3-4 months, after which, during the program proper, increasing the number of comput­ers provided is envisaged, up to 3,000 computers in 6 months. The number of Internet and computer users are estimated to make up only 10% of Armenia's population, while Computer for All Program plans to raise their num­ber to 30%. The program includes retraining computer sellers, PR subprograms, the use of the mass media, and other measures aimed at development of Armenia's E-society. Various models of HP note­books will be offered to citizens without any prepayment and an interest-free bank loan will be pro­vided. The citizens will have to pay 20,400 drams a month in the case one year-long loan, 11,200 drams and 8,100 drams in case of 2 years-long and 3 years-long loans respectively. The last option is an exceptional one which the banks do not usually provide.

 

Computer For All - Armen Baldryan
Unicomp Founding CEO Armen Baldryan showing a notebook to Nerses Yeritsyan,
 the RA Minister of Economy.

Vadim Tikhonichev, Hewlett-Packard Corporate Sales Manager for CIS countries

 

"You cannot engage in mental activities without a computer and the Internet just as you cannot drive a comfortable car on a bumpy road," RA Minister of Economy Nerses Yeritsian said, adding that for realization of the sale of PCs bulky batch, the Armenian government plans to invest 5 million dollars as a circu­lating credit line, to reduce the interest rate of credits. In his words, in 2010 the government will raise the issue of ensuring high-quality Internet throughout Armenia. As for the program to be launched, "it is necessary to cor­rectly present it to the public and to establish public control".
According to Armen Baldryan, Founding CEO of Unicomp CJSC, member of the Intel EMEA Council, member of the IT Development Support Council (ITSDC) under the Armenian Prime Minister, the one-year process of developing the program was not easy in the sense that it required to bring together the numerous participants' points of view and take all the details into account. In his words, "now is the time to take practical steps, and it is very important for this pilot, pre­liminary program to be implement­ed successfully." Speaking about the consolidating role of the state (in this case, the Ministry of Economy) in this issue, Mr Baldryan said that only a task of public importance that pursues "socially useful" rather than com­mercial profit can unify numerous participants, and the program's success is conditioned by this cir­cumstance. "Our "profit" at this stage of the program will be that people throughout Armenia will be well-educated and able to use a computer," Armen Baldryan noted.
Vadim Tikhonichev, Hewlett-Packard Corporate Sales Manager for CIS countries said they studied the Armenian market last year. According to him, Computer for All Program is a social one, whose first interest is not business. Mr Tikhonichev heaped praise to the Armenian Govt. for its important role in initi­ating this Program as well as Unicomp, HP’s long time partner. It envisages spreading electronic learning among schoolchildren, improving the quality of education and has three guidelines: the addressablity, availability and affordability of computers.
The first sale of computers is scheduled for September 22, in Yerevan, and a week later they will be able to purchase notebook PCs in Gyumri and Vanadzor.

The event was widely covered by the Armenian mass media.

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