Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nigeria wins bid to host Idlelo-5


Nigeria has won the bid to host Idlelo-5, an international conference of the Free and Open Source Software Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA).

This is coming as FOSSFA and partners have advanced plans to hold the 2010 West Africa Internet Governance Forum in Dakar, Senegal.

In the bid to host Idlelo-5, Nigeria surpassed Kenya to emerge the host nation for the continental bi-annual conference, scheduled to hold at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja in 2012.

Disclosing this in a telephone chat with ITRealms Online, the proponent of Nigeria Open Source Foundation and chief executive of Mandriva West Africa Limited, Dr. Dele Ajisomo, said that Nigeria has been given the right to host the Open Source community via the Idlelo 5.

He also expressed support from the Nigerian government, ministries, departments and agencies as well as industry interest groups including the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) and Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN) among others.

According to him, in the coming weeks, his office would release strategies toward making this opportunity a success, reiterating that Idlelo 5 will be a memorable one in the annals of FOSSFA.

Dr. Ajisomo stressed that the fifth African conference on FOSS and Digital Commons, otherwise tagged Idlelo 5, will mark the 10th anniversary of the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa and has been billed to hold in the first semester of 2012, just as he promised that Nigeria will make it a delight for all participants and sponsors.

ITRealms Online recalls that during the Idlelo 4, which took place in Accra-Ghana, the chairperson of FOSSFA, Ms Nnenna Nwakanma, noted that at the end of the call for proposal on May 17, 2010, two countries had expressed interest to host Idlelo 5 in 2012, namely Nigeria and Kenya.

The 2010 weeklong Idlelo 4 conference was held at the Kofi Annan Indian Centre for Excellence on Information and Communication Technologies (KAICE) in addition to a three-day pre-conference workshops and trainings on FOSS-related applications.

Nigeria’s proposal was made by Mandriva West Africa with office in Nigeria on behalf of FOSS community in the country and led by Dr. Ajisomo, while the Kenyan proposal was submitted by the Strathmore University of Kenya led by Dr. Joseph Sevilla.

Also, ITRealms Online gathered that in pursuit of this right, Nigeria FOSS community and FOSSFA’s programme committee are expected to open invitation for papers and presentations of all topics and in all disciplines related to Free and open Source Software and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in general.

Accordingly, sessions often consist of three 30-minute presentations and proposals which should be geared to that length, even as the committee may introduce a different format for some sessions after the proposals have been reviewed.

Noteworthy is that Idlelo conference was instituted to bring together Information Technology (IT) and FOSS experts from all over Africa and the world at large.

Further, the programme committee tends to capitalize on this strength by encouraging sessions that would address subjects of interest to a wide range of FOSS experts and put experts from different disciplines in dialogue with each other.

Till date, Idlelo has been held in South Africa, Kenya, Senegal and Ghana.
In a related development, FOSSFA has opened call for Internet Governance Forum core team in West Africa to be hosted in Dakar before the end of August this year.

FOSSFA chairperson, Nwakanma noted that her organisation, the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and other partners, with support from the Open Society Institute of West Africa (OSIWA) has launched a call for West Africa Internet Governance Forum preparation.

According to her, the terms of reference for West African IGF consortium group for the formation of the core team entails background for the key members of the consortium group of organizations who would be contributing to the development and organization of the 2010 West African Regional Internet Governance Forum.

The Consortium, she said, is comprised of members and organizations from the seven target countries, namely Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroon; as well as the convening organizations.

She also said that interested Internet enthusiasts in other countries in West Africa not listed above are free to apply to be part of the listed target countries.

The objectives of the WAIGF, she said, include the facilitation of Internet policy discussions on a multi-stakeholder platform for issues relating to the development and the governance of the Internet in West Africa.

In addition to increasing awareness of Internet governance issues in the sub-region and encourage participation of a broad range of stakeholders in the IGF process within West Africa.

Equally, she said, that WAIGF is to create an opportunity for West Africans to engage in, contribute towards discussions regarding spam, Internet and security, and other IGF related issues at the global Internet Governance Forum.

Therefore, she pointed out that WAIGF is to create a systematic, bottom up, national, regional and global policy dialogue process in West Africa.

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