African ministers punt free, open source

By   |  October 29, 2007

In Windhoek last week, the Ministerial Bureau of the fifth Pan African Conference of Ministers for Public or Civil Service met to review progress on the collective work of the various public service ministers. Among the themes covered was that of e-governance and free and [1]open source[/1] software ([2]FOSS[/2]).

The meeting was chaired by South Africa’s minister of public services and administration, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, who last month accepted an invitation to become a patron for the Free and Open Source Software Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA).

By the looks of it, she is fulfilling her role for FOSSFA well.

In a statement released by the department of public services and administration, it was said that the bureau noted the potential of FOSS “to improve service delivery access, efficiency and effectiveness”. It noted further that FOSS had the potential to cut back on costs while at the same time facilitating more open communication between government and the public.

The growing movement towards FOSS implementation within governments was noted at the meeting, as well as the fact that “a number of governments” had made decisions on the full use of FOSS to deliver services.

Significantly, the meeting roughly coincided with the announcement by the South African government to adopt open standards and the open document format (ODF).

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