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Escaping the trips trap: The political economy of free and open source software in Africa.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/03/2006
<mark>Journal</mark>Political Studies
Issue number1
Number of pages24
Pages (from-to)123-146
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish


Across sub-Saharan Africa, the promise of ‘informational development’ is proclaimed. The global governance of intellectual property rights (IPRs), however, currently structured through the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) agreement and overseen by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), makes much software expensive to deploy. There is an alternative: open-source and/or free software ameliorates many of the cost problems countries in Africa have anticipated as they have changed their laws to protect IPRs; using non-proprietary software will enable them to deploy extensive computerisation without making large payments to suppliers from the developed countries. By escaping the TRIPs’ trap, many Africans will be better able to enjoy the potential benefits of ‘informational development’.

Bibliographic note

RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Politics and International Studies