TYPO3 grows strong in Africa
At the same time as the release for the TYPO3 v10 LTS was prepared, another launch was about to happen. The Government of Rwanda has recently unveiled its new web portal, the online window through which the African country shares information with its citizens and with the world. TYPO3 CMS powers the Gov.RW portal. This launch will soon be followed by the new websites of 20 Rwandan ministries—all from the same instance of the TYPO3 CMS. Furthermore, the plan of the Rwandan Information Society Authority, the organization responsible for the development of the websites, is to relaunch more than 300 sites of the central institutions. TYPO3 will power all the websites.
This moment of achievement is the result of a process, started in 2018 when the Rwandan Information Society Architecture (RISA), the institution responsible for the coordination of the digitalization of the country, has analyzed and determined which is the best CMS that could support their ambitious plans. The CMS platform needed to be highly secure, extensible, performant, and handle multiple languages with ease. Furthermore, it should be capable of allowing a multi-tenant approach where one instance can power many websites, and provide the licensing conditions so that Rwanda can develop its development capacity without being dependent on external vendors. Of all CMS frameworks considered, TYPO3 has proven to be by far the most suitable.
The TYPO3 Association has played a key role in this process by assisting RISA with their analysis and learning about the capabilities of TYPO3. The workshops conducted by the Association in Kigali in December 2018 and June 2019 helped the creation of a Rwandan TYPO3 development team composed of people from RISA and from the Rwandan private sector that has started working on the new version of the portal of the government.
The Rwandan development team, aiming for a state-of-the-art implementation, required more intensive support to accelerate their mastering of TYPO3 and to establish the optimal development and deployment processes for the task ahead, the relaunch of the portals of the central institutions of the country. The German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) helped with financial support. The TYPO3 Association members Arxia and Macopedia took the role of coaching the Rwandan TYPO3 team and providing technical and methodological assistance. For six months, a group formed by Daniel Homorodean, Tymoteusz Motylewski, and Alina Fleșer have helped the local development team to advance their abilities as TYPO3 integrators and to incorporate in their daily practice of modern methodologies for development and deployment. Besides the TYPO3 knowhow, the coaches have helped the development team to establish an efficient CI/CD pipeline. They have assisted the teams responsible for the hosting infrastructure and for the security audit and monitoring to define and document the requirements and to prepare the deployment environment adequately. Answering the opportunity to establish TYPO3 as the framework of choice for the government of an African country and to expand the TYPO3 community in the Rwandan tech scene, Arxia and Macopedia are committed to continuing their support for Rwanda, TYPO3 and anyone who wishes to master the power of our great CMS framework.
The feedback from the Rwandan institution responsible for the project is very positive. Thomas Wiemann, consulting Program Manager Digitization Solutions at Rwanda Information Society Authority (RISA), has assisted the development of the portals and the coaching activities. He said: “We were looking for an open-source multi-tenant enterprise content management solution to build the websites for the Government of Rwanda. As TYPO3 was a perfect solution for our purpose, we still needed support to build our capacity for the implementation. Thanks to the support of GIZ and the TYPO3 Association, we could coach our employees while implementing this future proof solution. We are very grateful to the TYPO3 Association and GIZ for their substantial support during this endeavor to make all this happen.”
In the process, Rwanda became the first African country to have a TYPO3 user group, that even had its first meetup, in Kigali, on the 21 of February this year, an event that was very well received by the local technical community.
This is only the beginning of TYPO3 in Rwanda, where more and more institutions, including universities, are now interested in embracing it, and more private web agencies are keen to learn and start using our CMS.
This is also only the beginning of TYPO3 in Africa because, with such a strong example given by Rwanda, we believe that other countries will follow, making the right choice of relying on TYPO3 as the best CMS for their needs.
The management of GIZ agrees with this line of thought. This founding organization supported the project, as Olaf Seidel, Program Director Digital Solutions for Sustainable Development – DSSD, GIZ, is saying: "To improve the dissemination and handling of information by building a standardized and open source content management system, the TYPO3 coaching/web-development project fits very well with our partners' strategy and our approach for sustainable development with the support of digital solutions. I believe the model of using standardized enterprise open source solutions like TYPO3 combined with capacity building for key government institutions is precious and could become a blueprint for such endeavors."
We look forward to new successes for TYPO3 in the broader world!