A Snapshot of Open Source in West Africa

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 from 3:45 – 4:30pm in B201


Ever wonder why Wikipedia fund raising focuses that much on Africa?

Are you curious about what Open Source means for West Africans? What it is used for and where it is going?

Join to hear real world examples about us trying to build communities and businesses around open source in West Africa.


Although Africa is commonly described by International Agencies as the place-to-be, the continent of all hopes and capabilities, West Africa includes 17 countries, of which 12 are among the 30 lowest-ranked countries in the world on the Human Development Index.

We’ll first summarize and discuss our community experiments and findings:

  • Creation & Deployment of offline Wikipedia distribution in Mali
  • Wikipedia trainings in Mali
  • Ubuntu LUG in Mali
  • Creation and animation of a Free Software/Content kiosk
  • Deployment of Ubuntu + Kiwix in hundreds of computers
  • Wikipedia & Wiktionary contributions
  • Open Street Map contributions
  • Creation & Deployment of a Wikipedia HotSpot in Mali University
  • Development of Kiwix, the Wikipedia reader
  • Contributions to Free software packages

In a second part, we’ll discuss our professional-oriented approaches:

  • FLOSS Development workshop in Senegal
  • Year-long FLOSS Development training in Mali
  • FLOSS Development presentation sessions
  • Running an all-open-source company in Mali

You’ll come out of this talk with a better understanding of on-the-ground activities in open culture and open source software in West Africa, tactics you can use when expanding to this part of the world, and organizations to partner with.

Speaking experience

Wikimania, Taipei 2007
Global Forum on Youth and ICT for Development, Geneva 2007
FOSDEM, Brussels 2008
Idlelo Conference, Dakar 2008
Open Hardware Meeting, Paris 2008
E-festival, Bamako 2007, 2010
WHO mHealth meeting, Geneva 2010
UN Global Pulse, NYC 2010


  • Reg face 512

    Renaud Gaudin



    Renaud Gaudin is a french/malian developer, entrepreneur and free software activist.

    Before starting a software company in Mali, he worked with Air-France, USAID/Geekcorps and Columbia University.

    Renaud has a wide experience of ICT and Access to Information in Africa and its challenges.