Colonel Gaddafi buys 1.2 million cheap laptops

One Laptop Per Child heads for North Africa...

One Laptop Per Child heads for North Africa...

Libya will reportedly be dishing out $100 laptops to its schoolchildren, after signing a deal with Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project.

According to The New York Times, silicon.com Agenda Setter Negroponte has revealed Libya has agreed to purchase 1.2 million of the cheap Linux laptops.

The deal is thought to be costing Libya around $250m and will see the wind-up laptops delivered in mid-2007, according to the paper, along with servers for the schools, infrastructure and tech teams to help the country set up its laptops.

The agreement was reached after Negroponte visited Libyan leader colonel Gaddafi recently.

Negroponte told the NY Times: "It took him very little time to find OLPC appealing as an idea," adding that the pair had also talked over how Libya could finance purchase of laptops for poorer countries in Africa such as Rwanda.

Taiwanese hardware company Qanta will manufacture the Linux-based machines, with production due to start next year.

Other countries in discussions with the OLPC include Argentina, Brazil and Thailand. India, which was also in talks over the $100 devices, eventually rejected the idea. India's education secretary Sudeep Banerjee said at the time: "We need classrooms and teachers more urgently than fancy tools."