A Ghanaian start-up aims to boost economic growth and reduce poverty through mobile, web and software solutions in Ghana and the rest of Africa.
Oasis WebSoft, established by its now Chief Executive Raindolf Owusu in Accra in July 2011, pitches itself as different to other start-up companies because it focuses on more than one product.
The company specialises in web and open source software development, aiming to build mobile, web and software solutions that will help boost the economic growth of the continent as well as help decreasing poverty.
“Oasis WebSoft was developed with the idea to provide web and software solutions here in Ghana and beyond,” says Owusu. Its source codes are open to developers through their Github repositories so they are able to contribute code to the software so it might evolve.
“Africa is on the move and software and technologies are a powerful tool to boost economic growth and reduce poverty,” says Owusu, who was awarded the “Guido Sohne” award earlier this year by the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT and the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA).
Guido Sohne was a founding member of FOSSFA and passed away in 2008. A “fellowship” was subsequently formed in order to scout for young African “techies” who have a technological vision for Africa.
Oasis WebSoft is currently working on projects that they hope will be deployed next year, which are intended to minimise poverty and grow the economy in Africa.
“One of them (the projects) is an educational platform that would bring students, scholars, lecturers and everyone who seeks education or information, together. It allows the sharing of educational resources to help less privileged students in Africa to also have access to world class educational resources,” explains Owusu.
It is also training other developers via their online school to assist in solving problems that surround them using software and web solutions. The online school includes video tutorials of software and web development. “This is our small way of contributing to society,” added Owusu.
With an easy icon-based desktop interface and the help of more code contributors, Oasis WebSoft hopes to add a bundle of educational tools with the possibility of making these educational bundles available in a local language such as Swahili.
The company has also developed an Anansi mobile application for Android, Nokia and Windows mobile phones. “We recently joined forces with other African developers to develop and launch Africapp,” says Owusu. Africapp is a pan-African mobile application store that intends to serve the growing need of mobile users in Africa.
The software created by Oasis WebSoft is called Anansi, which means “spider” in the Akan language.
The Anansi web browser is equipped with unique offline features that Owusu believes suit the internet community of Ghana and Africa. “It is very interactive with offline features like the web camera. You can take pictures even if you are offline with your browser. The Anansi web browser also has a download manager which downloads content at a fast rate.”
Owusu claims it has been downloaded 3,526 times on Softpedia – the free downloads encyclopedia. Microsoft Office is also available free through Oasis WebSoft’s Anansi, so users do not have to purchase the likes of Word and Excel separately.
Owusu claims Anansi is free of viruses. “It is built with an open SUSE tool and its core is the Linux kernel. Linuz, Unix and other Unix-like computer operating systems are generally regarded as very well protected,” he says.
Oasis WebSoft was nominated for the 2012 Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship (AAE) due to their exceptional entrepreneurial achievements.