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The Impact of Free and Open Source Software for Sustainable Development in Sub-Saharan Africa (FOSSINA)

Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is impacting all aspects of ICT, ranging from supporting core ICT infrastructure to the development and deployment of e-learning, e-health, e-government, and e-commerce applications. The technology has great potential in empowering individuals and communities, giving technology users ownership rights, and enabling diverse talents and cultures to collaborate with technology partners of their choice at an unprecedented rate. These characteristics provide opportunities for large and small communities and businesses in developing countries to actively participate in the development and shaping of their own technology, stimulating the growth of indigenous software industries, creating local jobs, and lowering technology acquisition costs. The global trend in the adoption and utilization of FOSS means that world-class international research, teaching and capacity building institutions with an exceptional ‘reaching-out’ policy towards developing countries must be poised to understand the potential impact of FOSS. Developing countries in general, and Sub-Saharan Africa in particular, are experiencing a gradual, yet significant, shift from the use of technologies and services based on proprietary software to open source software.

Aims and Objectives: The main objective of the FOSSINA research project is to investigate the potential impact of FOSS for sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa by

  • developing an in-depth understanding of the widespread use of FOSS technologies and services in public and private sectors in sub-Sahara Africa,
  • providing guidelines and indicators for policymakers to create a positive environment for creativity, promote economic growth and sustainable development based on FOSS principles,
  • outlining a FOSS research and innovation roadmap (RIR) for Sub-Saharan Africa by identifying FOSS research and cooperation priorities.
Contact person: Sulayman K. Sowe at sowe[at]

This project also contributes to UNU's Activities in and on Africa.

For more information, visit the FOSSINA website.

Call for Participation: FOSSINA data collection surveys
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