FOSSFA

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FOSSFA.JPG
Type: Non-profit
Industry: Internet
Founded: 2002
Headquarters: Accra
Country: Ghana
Website: www.fossfa.net
Key People
Seun Ojedeji, Council Chair
Norbert GLAKPE, Council CTO
Brian Ssennoga, Council Secretary
Shola Olaniyan, Treasurer
Fatimata Seye Sylla, Council Member
Nnenna Nwakanma, Council Member

Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) is an open source task force that aims to unite individuals and organizations engaged in open source technology at the local, regional and national level. It encourages participation and the support for the development, use and implementation of open source solutions in the African region.

Background

The idea for the establishment of the FOSSFA first appeared during the ICT Policy and Civil Society Workshop held in Adis Ababa, Ethiopia on November 6-8, 2002, which was in preparation for the 2003 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva. During the workshop, the participants realized the need for open source solutions in Africa. An Open Source Task Force for Africa (OSTA) was subsequently created to bring together entities engages in open source all over the African region. On February 2003, the organization was created during the preparatory committee meeting of the WSIS.[1]

Vision and Mission

The organization's vision is to promote the use of free and open source (FOSS) and the FOSS model as part of African development. It also aims to become the voice for promoting creativity, expertise, initiatives for free open source solution, and the empowerment of women within the African continent.[2]

Objectives

The foundation aims to achieve the following objectives:

  • To serve as an advocate for the use and implementation of open source solutions from the local, regional, and national levels.
  • To encourage donations from governments that support open source such as Germany, Sweden, Norway and France.
  • To create a Clearinghouse of Knowledge Factory
  • To implement minimum standards, guidelines and advisory parameters that will be used by the organization
  • To develop a localized capacity to work on software development in Africa
  • To ensure that a discussion regarding open source will be included during the National Information and Communication Infrastructure (NICI) policy processes[3]

Staff

Projects

  • FOSSWAY (FOSS Advocacy in West Africa and Beyond) - advocacy to increase the the awareness and use of free and open source software in Western Africa in partnership with Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).[4]
  • ICT@INNOVATION - a project which aims to increase the development and growth of small & medium ICT enterprises in the Eastern and Southern parts of Africa.[5]

Challenges

According to an interview with FOSSFA Council Executives, the organization is faced different challenges, including:

  • lack of policy and the difficult implementation of existing policy
  • political instability
  • governance and infrastructure challenges
  • low investment in education and capacity building
  • negative image given to Africa[6]

FOSSFA and ICANN

Katim Touray, the former Council Vice-Chairman and former Council member of FOSSFA, was selected in 2008 to become one of the members of the ICANN Board of Directors representing Africa.[7]

References