|Cutting the ribbon! Official opening by the Managing Director of NICE International, the Managing Director of NICE Gambia, and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information, Communication and Information Technology: PHOTO/NICE-Gambia|
10 October 2012
First next-generation NICE Centre opens in Tabokoto, The Gambia
This network of NICE Centres aims to create opportunities for social and economic development for one million people, making the social business one of the most ambitious of its kind.
The NICE Centre in Tabokoto is a pilot project, to offer a wider range of services that focus on technology solutions for education, work and business. Moving beyond their former concept as a place offering access to the internet, entertainment and basic education services, the new NICE Centres are better adapted to the reality of a country where internet access is becoming more common. Examples of services are internet-connected work spaces and tools for students and entrepreneurs, an education room for IT and business training and a shop with IT and energy products. Different areas of the NICE Centre can be rented for meetings or events.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by representatives of the local European Union office, Permanent Secretary from the Ministry of Information, Communication and Information Technology, Permanent Secretary from the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Permanent Secretary from the Ministry of Energy, as well as other high-level business partners and NGOs. Special invitations were extended to loyal customers of the six NICE Centres already operating in The Gambia.
The upcoming 50 NICE Centres in Gambia, Tanzania and Zambia are financially supported with a EUR 2.5 million grant from the European Union and other private investors. All services and prices in NICE Centres have been designed to target people at the lower end of the economic pyramid, in particular youth, women and local entrepreneurs.
The construction of the first NICE Centre in Tanzania is ongoing and doors are expected to open around the end of the year. Once the 50 NICE Centres are up and running, it is NICE International’s ambition to build a network of 250 NICE Centres in 10 African countries by 2020, making it the largest social business operating in the continent.
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For photos of the inauguration ceremony, please go to NICE’s Facebook page.
About NICE International and NICE Gambia
NICE Gambia Ltd is a subsidiary of NICE International BV, based in The Netherlands. NICE Gambia has successfully piloted NICE Centres since 2006. A strong focus on IT-related products and services, allied to a reliable energy supply, has proven its income-generating potential making NICE a sustainable business. There are NICE Centres in Banjul, Pipeline, Serrekunda, Tallinding, Latrikunda-Sabiji and Brikama. Four out of these six NICE Centres are franchised by local entrepreneurs.
The social business concept is now being launched as part of a large scale roll-out project in The Gambia, Tanzania and Zambia. The expansion will provide widespread access to solar energy and IT services in these parts of Africa.The ultimate goal of the NICE Centres is to help people toward income generation.
The project is financially supported by the European Union and co-funding by Dutch development bank FMO, and private investors Rabobank and Schneider Electric. NICE was originally initiated by Energy4All Foundation in 2006. The roll-out will be implemented in cooperation with Viafrica Tanzania and Macha Works in Zambia.
Operations and service manager