Slim Gives Back to Mexico’s Children

MP News Staff 

MEXICO CITY – Billionaire Carlos Slim said he doesn’t care if he is the world’s richest man and promised to donate hundreds of thousands of laptop computers to Mexican children.

The Mexican telecom mogul pledged Thursday to donate 250,000 low-cost laptops to children by the end of the year and as many as 1 million in 2008, saying “digital education” holds the key for Mexico’s poor.

Slim said he wants to focus on building specialized preschools, handing out computers and supporting health care.

He said he would devote about $70 million this year to the low-cost laptop program. With an estimated cost of $250 to $300 per machine, Slim would have to devote as much as $300 million to pay for 1 million laptops. He predicted, however, that costs for the machines would fall further.

Slim, who controls Mexico’s largest fixed-line telephone company, Telefonos de Mexico, or Telmex, said the plan would initially put the laptops in libraries and schools, which would eventually give them outright to students.