Ethiopia may be one of the world's poorest nations but it plans to become information-rich with a massive investment in internet access.
Net access will be installed in 450 schools
Prime minister Meles Zenawi believes information technology has the power to counteract poverty.
He is planning to provide universal net connectivity for the country over the next few years.
The government is working with US technology firm Cisco to make this a reality.
It will invest around $40m (£21m) in developing its internet service, which will involve laying 2,500km of fibre optic cables.
"We are fully committed to ensuring that as many of our poor as possible have this weapon that they need to fight poverty at the earliest possible time," Mr Meles said at a conference attended by government ministers and technology experts.
This will include access to the tens of thousands of rural districts over the next two to three years, he said.
Currently there are around 30,000 internet lines serving a population of 71 million.
Within six months that figure will be expanded to 500,000 lines.
Fifty seven million Ethiopians live in rural area, many relying on subsistence farming.
About half of the population are unable to read or write.
The government is hoping e-schooling could change this and is planning to provide 450 secondary schools around the country with net access.
Regional and district government offices will also be linked and Healthnet will connect all referral hospitals around the country.
"Not long ago many of us felt that we were too poor to seriously invest in information and communication technology," Premier Zenawi told conference delegates.
"We were convinced that we should invest every penny we have on securing the next meal for our people. We did not believe serious investment in ICT had anything to do with facing the challenges of poverty that kills. Now I think we know better," he said.