FOSSFA Chair Remarks at #IDLELO7

 

The Right Honorable Prime Minister of Uganda,

The Honorable Minister ICT and National Guidance,

The Honorable Minister Science, Technology and Innovation

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of ICT and National Guidance,

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation,

The Board of Director, National IT Authority of Uganda,

The Executive Director of National IT Authority of Uganda,

The Executive Director of Uganda Communications Commission,

International Dignitaries

The Council, Free Software and Open Source Foundation of Africa,

Members of the African Open Source Community,

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the FOSSFA community, it is my honor to welcome you all to IDLELO7 – Africa’s Premier Open Source Summit. Let me use this opportunity to thank our local host – the People and the Government of the Republic of Uganda –  the pearl of Africa – for the warm welcome. IDLELO has always enjoyed the partnership of governments but this is the first time it’s being hosted by the government, and I congratulate the National Organising Committee for putting up a great program line-up.

Over the last  15 years, FOSSFA has headed this important gathering; bringing FOSS advocates, developers, activists and entreprenuers to deliberate, share ideas and chart a new course of action for the digital commons on the African continent.  This year, we have the exclusive experience to celebrate with the Pearl Of Africa. This experience has already been shared with Capetown in South Africa,  Nairobi in Kenya, Dakar in Senegal, Accra in Ghana, and Abuja in Nigeria.

We recognize that COMESA issued FOSS adoption guidelines, and now Kampala has an opportunity to lead the conversations on the implementation and ownership of this by COMESA member states. We also recognize that NITA-U has taken steps in drafting the National FOSS Policy and we are excited to bring our continent-wide experience to partner with the Government of the Republic of Uganda on charting the course towards a sustainable Free Software and the Open Source model. FOSSFA salutes the presence of active and diverse open communities and initiatives such as the Center for Open Source Software, Hive Colab, Outbox, UN Global Pulse Lab, Women of Uganda Network and the incubation labs at Makerere and many more. These are the building blocks of an open source model for citizens and for a nation and this is why we are here today.

FOSSFA draws its origin from an ICT Policy and Civil Society Workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2002, convened by the AU. As a pan-African FOSS Foundation, the vision of FOSSFA is to promote the use of FOSS and the FOSS model in sustainable African development.

FOSSFA has consistently grown and empowered a viable Open Source community in the continent, growing itself from a handful of practitioners to thousands of people from technology, business, social justice and policy domains. The training programs of FOSSFA ensure adequate capacity and has span over diverse fields: in technology, in policy, in entrepreneurship, in media, in Internet Governance, in platforms and tools. FOSSFA members and alumni are in diverse leadership positions across Africa and beyond.

With our international partners, FOSSFA has engaged in developing the FOSS business ecosystem in Africa. Our publications and practical guides to business are available. Our FOSS directory is available and offers top-class expertise for the global business community. Our platforms give you the opportunity to train online, meet online, and even hold elections online.

We have continued to work with Research and Development partners to champion key studies on not just FOSS but Education, Business and Policies. The evidence for a FOSS policy in Africa is no longer lacking. While continuing our partnerships with African Union, the Economic Commission for Africa, Regional Economic bodies like COMESA and ECOWAS, and National IT agencies like SITA of South Africa, NITDA of Nigeria, and, presently NITA-U, we continue to build bridges with technical bodies of the continent and the world like AFRINIC, ICANN, Diplo Foundation, UN-Internet Governance Forum, the Internet Systems Consortium (ISC) and Google.

I would like to especially invite the NITA-U to become a FOSSFA Member. As Uganda continues to lead in the Great Lakes region, there is no reason why Uganda cannot lead in the adoption of and implementation of a roadmap towards Open Government and Open Data. FOSSFA is your partner on this path, and we have the expertise to support  in this.

On this note, I like to use this opportunity to thank the following sponsors and partners AFRINIC, Huawei, ICANN, Computer Point, Aptech, World Wide Web Foundation and Smile Telecom. Ladies and gentlemen it is a pleasure to invite you to take a ride from the shores of Lake Victoria, to the beaches of the Indian ocean, in Durban, the capital of the Zulu Kingdom – which will host to IDLELO8 in 2018.

Finally, on behalf of the FOSSFA community, I hope you will participate in and enjoy the sessions.

 

Mwebale Nnyo. Asante Sana.

 

Thank You Very Much.

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