As many may already know, I'm from Uruguay, and the OLPC plan was implemented here, in this place. Also, I actually work for a company that in some time gave support and repairs to these laptops.
Of course in my country a huge amount of money has been invested in the past 8~10 years to relieve poverty and take out children from the very low end marginal state. Lots of schools were built, a lot of plans were implemented, food, milk, water, and there in the middle, the OLPC plan was also implemented. Somewhat very ambitious... but it was approved by all the senators from all sectors, right, center, left included.
The only thing I can see is that you won't hear any good results from this in the short term. The plan may be questionable because of this alone. But these latest administrations wanted to attack every corner possible.
The result of all plans is given by the numbers:
-Poverty in Uruguay lowered from 22% to 7% (aprox) in just 8 years. I think its still going down.
-Infant mortality rate reached historic lows.
So, was the OLPC necessary to reach these goals? I don't know. Maybe not.
But the administration wanted something more, if this isn't enough. They want every habitant to be able to access internet. Every school has internet for free. But a computer is necessary to reach this goal. If you think it like this, its crazy for a third world country.
Does this means the older administrations didn't spend enough money in technology? No, of course not. Administrations from the 90s spent a lot more money in computers for the schools. But there was a problem... they run windows 3.11. And many had black and white screens. And each cost like 1000$. It wasn't easy. I remember myself sharing a sole computer with other 4 pals, learning logo under Ms-DOS. I was like 10 years old and those computers didn't have a hard drive, it was all lan based pointing to a server. Lots of thousand bucks saved by not buying hard drives.