Bugema University will over the weekend train Information Communication Technology (ICT) practitioners on the Advanced Training on African Business Models with Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). The training will involve representatives from small and medium ICT enterprises, IT managers, and university ICT lecturers. According to the project coordinator, Mr Robert Nkambwe, the training will be about how African small and medium ICT enterprises can make money with FOSS.
“The advanced training inter alia builds on more than eight practical case studies of African ICT companies, which use FOSS to generate income, drive innovation, add local value and provide legal, low-cost and high quality software solutions to businesses,” he said. This, according to the coordinator, is the first national training which is part of the multi-year ict@innovation programme. The project is being implemented by Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) and Capacity Building International, with support from Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) and the German Ministry for Development Cooperation.
Mr Nkambwe said FOSS is software which can be freely used, modified and distributed offering a number of different opportunities.“Developers are able to customise, change or add to open source software and join in global open production processes,” Mr Nkambwe said, adding that the device can help to stimulate local innovation and growth in the IT sector. He said with FOSS, small and medium-sized IT businesses can create locally adapted IT solutions, independent of foreign software vendors as well as allow local value chains to be tapped. FOSS technologies can also be used to run servers, networks, content management systems and operating systems such as Linux, as well as business and office applications like Open Office.
“Since FOSS is adaptable and does not entail license fees, it is particularly useful when applications need to be adapted to a specific context,” Mr Nkambwe said. “Local businesses, in particular IT-SME can benefit from FOSS as users, but more importantly they can generate business models around FOSS such as offering high-value IT services, software development and training.”