Published 11 years ago

Take a minute to think back to your college days. A number of lectures a day; frequent trips to the library; many hours spent studying; countless exams and a bit of a social life here and there. Now, throw creating a web browser into that mix. Impossible, you say? Well, not according to 21-year-old Raindolf Owusu who has done just that by successfully launching a web browser specifically customized for Africa’s growing internet users.

Owusu, a very agreeable computer science student at Methodist University College in Accra, Ghana is talk of the town. As I walk through the halls of his fine institution with him on an overcast morning, his peers acknowledge him with a little hail and respectful handshake, while his cellphone rings intermittently. That is business calling because when classes are over, it’s back to being a software developer and CEO.

“I believe software can solve many problems in Africa. Our problems on the continent are different and existing software from abroad are not built to suit the African setting. Propriety operating systems are being entrenched into our society and we spend so much money paying for licenses on this software. I decided to build a company that will address this problem and develop homegrown software,” says Owusu.


This decision led to the birth of Oasis WebSoft, a software development start-up, from which Owusu’s Anansi Browser and operating system emerged. Anansi operating system is an openSUSE 12.1 clone OS, that was developed on Linux kernel. This makes it a unique experience for Unix desktop users. It is a general purpose, free operating system. It is virus free too, which eliminates the need to buy anti-virus software and it comes pre-installed with LibreOffice. The beauty of Anansi is that it runs on every type of computer architecture and can be run live on a DVD or CD-ROM, which means you can use Anansi OS and your default OS like using Windows on

your Mac.

“I’m an advocate for free and open-source software,” says Owusu.

The Anansi Operating system, attracted 3,000 downloads within the first two weeks of its launch in July. The numbers have since increased to 6,000 downloads and counting. For Owusu, who describes his programming skills as self-taught, funding for his project did not come easily. A lot of funds were injected into securing an unlimited server to host the OS for downloads. After being granted the Guido Sohne fellowship—named after a late, award-winning software developer—by the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa, more angel investors have since flooded in.


On what makes this a pioneering innovation, Owusu explains, “There are so many Linux distributions including Ubuntu, Fedora and Finnix, currently Anansi has a Gnome 3 desktop environment and we have embedded all the basic system wares and software that will enhance software connectivity.”

He hopes that his plans to run the next updated version of Anansi in local languages and the customization of features, to adapt to a variety of African countries, will bring more revenue in the near future.

Owusu’s Oasis WebSoft might be one of the most promising start-ups in Ghana presently, but his interest in his academics has not been swayed in

the least.


“I am very dedicated to my studies. There is still a lot to learn. It’s all a matter of time management. If it means getting less sleep, I’ll continue to balance my studies and work. I don’t want to become a college drop-out. That is not a notion that should ever be held by any African student. Education is very important.

He currently has a team of five, which he hopes to expand with time.

“Raindolf is very hard working and driven. He is one of the best guys I have ever worked with and I’m very proud to be a part of Oasis WebSoft. I believe we have something special on our hands and we will take the name of Ghana and Africa very far with this,” says Jeffery Aboagye-Asare, one of Owusu’s team members.

“My market is Africa. I believe in Africa. It’s quite astonishing that we are currently getting downloads from overseas but I am not worried about competing on a global stage. I want to make sure that anything I build—my mobile, software and web applications—are built solely for Africa,” says Owusu,  the fourth of six children.


Drawing inspiration from names like Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Mark Zuckerberg— the CEO’s and founders of Google and Facebook, respectively—Owusu has got his finger on the cursor and Africa is waiting on his next