PyCon wants to come to Africa and why you should care

PyCon Africa

Ever wondered what are some of the vital technologies siring exponential growth at Google, NASA, Yahoo and  Dropbox?

Python.

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Python is a modern general-purpose language, used throughout the world in everything from embedded systems to large-scale infrastructures. Python is available for free to the public as free open source software.

The Python Conference (PyCon) –an annual convention for the discussion and promotion of the Python programming language –wants to come a sub Saharan African country (excluding South Africa that already has an active community and PyConZa).

According to a proposal about PyCons-in-Africa, they are aimed at:

  • nurturing the skills of local software developers
  • supporting and encouraging the formation of local open source development communities
  • helping equip the host nation with a skillset that will enable it to build and maintain sustainable local IT infrastructure
  • helping establish open source software as an obvious choice for African agencies and the foreign donor community and to establish it as a sustainable annual event.

The growing demand for locally tailored solutions is still hampered by high initial costs of production as well as a dearth of skills to execute tasks at hand.

If a developing nations (especially in Africa) are to develop the skillset required to create and maintain software that meets its own needs, they will need to educate and train their own software developers, equipping schools and universities with systems they can afford and can afford to maintain in the future. This is what python aims to do by availing  comparatively low cost open source systems hence lowering the bar to acquisition and participation.

Python also has its roots in education, and was conceived in part as a language for computer science teaching. These roots manifest themselves in the way it emphasizes simplicity and clarity, making it a particularly easy language to learn and being using productively. As well as being favoured in education, Python’s connections with education have helped build around it a valuable ecosystem and culture that support new learners of the language.

There have been some outstanding open source projects in Africa supported by vibrant open-source communities and initiatives. However, PyCons in Africa seek to be largely run on stronger technical and financial bases and entirely owned by the local communities.

Are you interested in PyCons-in-Africa? Well, join the mailing list from here.

Image via pyvideo