They are attempting to introduce 21st century ecommerce and communications technology to Africa, specifically Nigeria. This appears to be a genuine effort to improve the lives of others, and not just another typical progressive superiority-complex-motivated outreach to “backwards” indigenous peoples. Let’s hope the conference organizers are not targeted by Muhammad Abu bin Jackwagon as a reward for their infidel efforts ….
Field Notes: CMS Africa Summit (CMS is a regular, scheduled open source tech event)
Five Automatticians recently attended this event in Abuja, Nigeria.
Automatticians, the people who build WordPress.com, participate in events and projects around the world every day. Periodically, they report back on the exciting things they do in the community.
This year’s CMS Africa Summit was my third attendance at this amazing conference. My colleagues Marjorie, Sarah, Hannah, and Luminus joined me for the event and in doing so we sent Automatticians from three different continents.
For several years now, Automattic has been the title sponsor for CMS Africa Summit. After conferences in Kenya (2015) and Uganda (2016), the 2017 edition took place in Abuja, Nigeria. The team behind the summit consists of industry leaders from all three of those countries. Together they also represent some of the world’s most popular open source content management systems (CMSs): Joomla, Drupal, and (of course) WordPress.
As one of the tech hubs in Sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria is leading tech innovation on the continent. The conference by consequence focused on the practical use of CMSs, more so than in previous years: how they can boost local businesses and grow the economy.
For that reason, the attendees were very interested in eCommerce as a way to take their startups online. We introduced them to WooCommerce as an open source tool for economic empowerment, and shared practical and localized guidelines. Many of the entrepreneurs we encountered expressed their love for open source software because it doesn’t require them to invest their precious startup budget in software.
The slides and summaries of our talks can be found on our respective websites. Here’s a selection of some of the other talks we loved. Prosper Otemuyiwa, our favorite keynote speaker, focused on how to build a product the open source way. Nigerian CMS organizer Adedayo Adeniyi talked about the need for online growth in Nigeria and putting checks and balances in place for high-quality local web development. Software developer Idris Abdul Azeez highlighted the importance of documenting not only software configuration but also its development process, since writing readable code is a necessary cornerstone for the open source community and facilitates members’ contributions.
We were moved when lead organizer Oduor Jagero shared his excitement that Automattic had sent a team of staff to attend, present workshops, and connect in person with the Nigerian tech and open source community. Beyond the financial support, taking the time to teach and to listen to the local stories is especially appreciated. If you’re ready to listen too, here’s a great place to start: Jagero asked his friends on Facebook to share their blog posts about love. Three of the best stories will be awarded a basket of WordPress goodies. Here are the best ones he selected: Lovine Mboya, Akello, and Nepenthe.
CMS Africa Summit 2017 was amazing, just as in previous years. As outsiders, the local community welcomed us with open arms. The eagerness to learn, grow, and be successful was inspiring. On to the next one!
Below are some pictures taken by organizer David Aswani.