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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

FOSSFA commends Omatek, urges African patronage

The Free and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) has commended the management of Omatek Computer Plc for its effort in building capacity for the citizens of the continent.

Speaking after leading participants at the ongoing Idlelo Four conference of FOSSFA and Digital Common at the Kofi Annan Centre for Excellence in Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), the chairperson of FOSSFA Council, Ms Nnenna Nwakanma, said they are proud of Omatek and their products.

She also urged Africans, especially the government on the continent to look inward by patronizing the likes of Omatek who provide employment for the citizens of Africa and to help the continent to grow economically.

She advised Africans to forego the mentality of thinking that Africa and Africans because the only nation that can strive in this century are those who have something upstairs.

Nwakanma further made an exclusive appeal to African women and youths to tap into the advantages offered by open source and get exposed in Information Technology (IT), because according to her, it is only those who have knowledge that would survive in the coming centuries.

Welcoming FOSSFA members to the Omatek Factory in Accra, Ghana, the General Manager, Mr. Nana Benneh, expressed delight for the opportunity by FOSSFA members to know what the company is doing and where the two could partner in advancing the African course in ICT.

Taking the group round the factory, the Production Manager, Omatek Ghana, Mr. Saied Onifade, revealed that they currently assemble about 200 Personal Computers (PCs) per day and has plans to delve into solar inverter in Accra, even as they do commercial assembling for people or companies who wish to have branded that are different from Omatek.

He explained that Omatek computers are tropically made to comply with the weather situation in this part of the world.

This, he said, stands Omatek out among the foreign brands which do not conform to these additional features, stressing that every PC after being assembled is sent into the burning room for several hours followed by a system report that would show the composition so as to ensure that every system complies with the Omatek standards.

He pointed out that Omatek originated from Nigeria and has been in the market for over 20 years, although it has just been in Accra for about three years, noting that the Accra factory was set up to serve the Ghana market and other West Africa states.

Onifade further said that Omatek usually load both Microsoft and Open Source (OS) operating systems in every PC so as to give customers the choice.

He went on to disclose that Omatek has partnership with Madriva, an Open Source distributor to load its elearning package in some of the PCs meant for educational institutions in the bid to bridge the gap between the cities and rural communities in Africa.

Equally speaking, a member of FOSSFA council and director-general, Kofi Annan Centre for Excellence in ICT, Ms Dorothy Gordon, applauded participants for creating the time to visit Omatek.

She called for the evaluation of FOSSFA members on the continent and to encourage new membership and grow awareness.

“We need to find out where the user groups are in Africa and who are their contact points and keep in touch with them to drive the open source home,” she asserted.

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