Thursday 17 February 2011

Afro Ng'ombe

Nigeria Develops Own IP for Voter Registration

File:Election in Nigeria 1999.jpgAfro Leo usually discusses changes in IP laws or interesting cases dealing with a suspected infringement of someone’s IP, but today Afro Lea has an opportunity to highlight a different kind of IP development from Nigeria: the creation of new intellectual property for Nigeria’s voting registration system.

Nigeria’s voting system has come a long way in the last decade. Photo: Election in Nigeria 1999

Nigeria’s next big election is coming up in two months and the country is getting ready by registering its eligible voters.  A new voter registration system was recently put into place; a new system where both the software and hardware have been developed in Nigeria.

Nyimbi Odero built the registration software using a Linux operating system.  Since Linux OS’s are released under open source licenses, Nyimbi was able to develop the software without the huge expense of licensing fees for every computer running the software.  Al Jazeera estimates that this move saved Nigeria hundereds of millions of Naira.  Overall, the combined savings from developing the software in country and having it run on Linux is estimated at more than USD$100 million.

Hardware for the registration process is also being built in country. Lagos-based company Zinox has put together over 80,000 computers for collecting the registration data. 

Afro Leo is always excited to see African intellectual property for  African intellectual property laws to protect.  In the words of Zinox CEO Leo-Stan Ekeh, “Africans are taking control and this is what civilization is all about.”

Full Al-Jazeera report (video).

Afro Ng'ombe

Afro Ng'ombe

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Write comments
27 February 2011 at 02:36 delete

Great news!!

However, how come the same INEC awarded billions of dollars worth of contract to companies to import these same machines (DDC)?

This is in respect of the recent patent infringement case Beddings v Inec. What is the current situation with this case at present?

Finally, can one now argue that open source has helped these technicians develop the software and hardware for this system?