James Saaka, Executive Director, NITA Uganda during the launch of the eCitizen Portal at Statistics House, Uganda in October, 27 2015. Image Credit: ChimpReports
James Saaka, Executive Director, NITA Uganda during the launch of the eCitizen Portal at Statistics House, Uganda in October, 27 2015. Image Credit: ChimpReports
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The Government of Uganda through National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U) will host the 7th African Conference on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and Digital Commons (IDLELO 7) in August 2016. The conference aims to support uptake of Open Source in Uganda and the region.

The Ministry of ICT has recently developed a Free Open Source Software (FOSS) Policy to provide guidance on deployment of Open Source Software and the use of Open Standards as a means of accelerating Innovation and local content development.

Holding this conference will raise awareness of the positive impact FOSS can have for development and how industry partners can work together to develop sustainable FOSS Model best practice in Uganda.

The 7th African Conference on FOSS conference is organized after every two years and the most recent summits have been held in Nairobi (2014), Abuja (2012), Accra (2010) and Dakar (2008) and Johannesburg (2006).

Speaking at a recent engagement Executive Director NITA-U said “The adoption of FOSS in Uganda stands to offer solid economic and developmental benefits such as localization offering opportunities for customizing applications to suit the local business culture. Expanding the market for Ugandan software designers who would be able to sell and produce Ugandan products not only to the local Ugandan markets but also to the overall Ugandan international clients”

James Saaka, Executive Director, NITA Uganda during the launch of the eCitizen Portal at Statistics House, Uganda in October, 27 2015. Image Credit: ChimpReports
James Saaka, Executive Director, NITA Uganda during the launch of the eCitizen Portal at Statistics House, Uganda in October, 27 2015. Image Credit: ChimpReports

Objectives of the Conference include to:

  • Promote local community uptake of FOSS.
  • Promote the use of the FOSS model in Uganda’s development.
  • Promote the integration and adoption of FOSS in National Policies for countries in the COMESA regional bloc.
  • Use FOSSFA expertise & reach to add value to FOSS initiatives in Uganda.
  • Promote partnership in FOSS initiatives in Uganda and the region.
  • Appraise on Government Policy support of FOSS.

The conference will serve as a platform to build skills and networks of FOSS players in Africa, focusing on technology and bring a wide spectrum of FOSS players in an intensive skill-sharing environment, laying the path for mutual understanding and collaboration.

Previous IDLELO events and training workshops have proven the effectiveness of bringing together people who are creating and administering FOSS (and hardware!), with those that are implementing and using these resources. The IDLELO participant fits in any one or more of the following moulds:

  1. African based ICT policy learner/expert looking to secure the place of FOSS in their National Policy Framework.
  2. African based ICT student/practitioner interested in Free and Open Source Software and Hardware.
  3. African based SME/B looking to break the entry barrier to ICTs using FOSS.
  4. African based ICT Business looking to support the use of FOSS in its business and service model.
  5. Enterprise ICT Companies looking to sell niche ICT products and Services.

IDLELO 7 will attract participants interested in policy on Open data and Open Government.

In the region, IDLELO 7 will attract COMESA, and regional member states to share FOSS strategies and landmarks in the legal and policy frameworks to enable ICT practitioners to better understand the working practices they are designing solutions for.