Coded in Country. It’s a pretty catchy title and very interesting initiative starting to pick up steam across the continent. Started by private software consultancy Dimagi, Coded in Country aims to help increase the amount of high-quality software developed in Africa by Africans.
There are many talented coders in probably every country in Africa. (For two small examples, see Linux Uganda Group and Open Source Zambia.) Yet, as Neal Lash explains in “Beware the Foreign Expert”, a great deal of software designed for use by specific African communities is developed by coders from wealthy countries. Lash goes on to explain why this is a problem and how initiatives like Coded in Country can help.
Coding may seem a little removed from Afro-Leos normal roaring ground, but as IP attorneys and people involved with Intellectual Property around the continent, we probably all know a few young coders and software engineers who could use a little encouragement. These people will be a huge part of the future of their countries, and they will need legal help and guidance. Whether determining if they have complied with the requirements of the open source license on the software they just modified, or deciding if they can patent their new program, they will turn to us for guidance. It is worth looking into programs like Coded in Country, even if just to pass the information along.
Image credit: “Linux” CC-BY-NC-SA by amalthya available at Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/amalthya/31684776/. Warning, some might find the photographer’s caption below the picture a bit offensive. Please be patient with the Muzungu and leave polite comments to correct her mis-assumptions rather than getting upset.