African Technology Data Pioneers Gather to Spark Open Data Revolution

Today, led by the World Wide Web Foundation, fifty African civil society organisations, open data advocates and technology pioneers will come together to take the first steps towards establishing a groundbreaking new policy and investment framework to open up government data in Africa. Following the UN’s call for a Data Revolution, this coalition of organisations will agree concrete next steps to unlock the potential of open data across the continent, which experts agree could help beat corruption, spark innovation and improve government services.

The event – an interactive workshop being held in conjunction with the High Level Conference (HLC) on the Data Revolution in Africa – will track progress to date towards opening up data in Africa. Participants – including representatives from ActionAid, Africa Freedom of Information Centre, Code for South Africa, IDRC, Social Justice Coalition, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation and the World Bank will take the first steps towards creating a new vision, identifying knowledge gaps, devising new strategies and setting innovative new 2020 targets to deepen and broaden the open data revolution Africa desperately needs. The outcomes of this meeting will be used to inform the main HLC deliberations, which start one day later.

This new drive will focus on four areas, namely:

Public budgeting, procurement and contracting;

Ownership and behavior of private companies and key natural resources (energy, oil, gas, land etc);

Public leadership integrity and performance (financial interests, campaign contributions, performance appraisals, records of debates etc);

Realisation of human and peoples’ rights (census, women, health, education, inequalities, rights enjoyment or denial etc).

Speaking ahead of Rebooting Open Data in Africa, Jose M. Alonso, Open Data Programme Manager at the World Wide Web Foundation said:

“We’re working to open up government data in Africa to deliver real improvements to the day-to-day lives of African people through improved government services, and greater accountability and transparency. Home-grown solutions to thorny challenges such as appropriate models of innovation, education and capacity building that can support community and government-led initiatives must be developed. Sustained leadership and investment are additional key success factors.”

This regional agenda-setting workshop is hosted by the World Wide Web Foundation and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and financially supported by the International Development Research Centre as part of the Harnessing Open Data to Achieve Development Results in Asia and Africa project and the High Level Conference on Data Revolution.