CODI CONSIDERS FOSS A SERIOUS STRATEGIC OPTION FOR AFRICA

Computing

Free Open Source Software (FOSS) is an emerging industry, an employment creator and the driving force of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Balancing Act's Correspondent Timothy Kasolo writes that the ICT sub committee recommended and resolved during the Committee On Development Information (CODI IV) that FOSS should be considered as a strategic option to strengthen the provision of cost-effective, easily adaptable and modifiable services to users.

The members at the meeting also resolved that there was need to raise awareness and capacity building on information security issues and concerns and taking into account FOSS in the formulation and implementation of ICT industrialization initiatives.It was emphasized that FOSS training programmes should be introduced in colleges and universities. "There is also a need to encourage participation of FOSS communities in the NICI formulation and implementation process," The paper read in part. However there is need to ensure that open standards and interoperability of computer operating systems which have now been considered as part of infrastructure.

FOSS industry today generates yearly revenues in excess of US dollars 300 billion.FOSS is software that has made its source code free and public and allows users to change the source code and redistribute the derivative software.While liberating the source code FOSS encourages, or even obliges, programmers to give other programmers and users the freedom and opportunities.

And Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) Bilgad Kagai said increased use of FOSS is for sustainable development because FOSS is a technology that the local people in Africa can understand, maintain and adapt to other needs." FOSSFA in collaboration with the United Nations Economic for Africa (UNECA) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)will be having the second IDLELO conference on FOSS to be held in Nairobi next year in February and the information can be found on the FOSSFA website," Kagai explained.

At the same meeting CODI urged all the member states to harness creative and innovative technologies and business models, such as Voice Over IP (VOIP), ICT enabled export services and mobile commerce, to enhance competitiveness of Africa's private sector and meet the needs of the public.

CODI also recommended Economic Commission of Africa (ECA) to support the African Youth ICT4D Network (AYIN) in the implementation of its Africa plan towards the realization of Africa's Information Society Agenda.