Eight finalists have been chosen from a field of more than 200 nominees for the Development Gateway Foundation's first-ever Petersberg Prize. The 100,000 euro Prize will recognise outstanding achievement in the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to improve people's lives in developing nations.The Prize will be awarded at the Development Gateway Forum 2004 on June 27 in Petersberg/Bonn, Germany. At the Forum, 80 leaders from around the world will gather to advance the use of ICT for development. Speaking on the Forum's theme, "Local Solutions for Effective Development," will be Rwanda President Paul Kagame, Bulgaria Deputy Prime Minister Lydia Shouleva, World Bank Group President James D. Wolfensohn, and others.Finalists for the Petersberg Prize, who come from four world regions, have demonstrated the impact new technologies can have on development in various fields of endeavor. Innovative uses of information technology have helped improve the livelihoods of poor farmers in Mali and India, dramatically expanded access to communication and information in rural areas of Bangladesh and Hungary, and created a whole new economic sector in India. Petersberg Prize finalists are being recognised for these and other accomplishments.Prize jurors recently met in Egypt to review the nominations, at the headquarters of the Regional Information Technology and Software Engineering Center (RITSEC), a leading technology development center in the Arab region, and at the Library of Alexandria. "We are delighted that this distinguished committee chose to come to Egypt to conduct its important deliberations and work on the contributions that these technologies can make for development," said Egyptian Prime Minister H.E. Dr. Atef Ebeid.The finalists' stories, along with other noteworthy achievements identified in the nominations, will be shared on the Development Gateway's global portal of knowledge for development http://www.developmentgateway.org/prize , to help advance understanding of the finalists' work and of the contribution of ICT to development. The Prize and Forum both underscore ICT's central role in development, with the Forum focusing on ICT's benefits in three specific areas: improving government transparency and efficiency, sharing information for more effective management of development initiatives, and increasing the capacity of individuals and institutions to solve persistent issues of poverty.The Forum will produce the Petersberg Declaration, a set of recommended actions in these key areas. It will take place at the Petersberg conference center, where the Prize was launched at the Development Gateway's last Forum.The following are short summaries of the eight individuals and organizations who are finalists for the Petersberg Prize. For longer descriptions, please visit www.developmentgateway.org/prize.
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