In 2017, Ghana hosted the 2nd Africa open data conference that brought together several countries from Africa and beyond. Other representations were from Asia, North, South America and Europe.
In attendance were global organisations like Facebook, the United Nations, world wide web foundation just to mention a few. In fact, it was one of my best and most fulfilling international conferences I ever attended in Ghana.
As a volunteer, a presenter and a participant, I had the opportunity to participate in several unconference sessions that gave me a lot of insights on how the average African perceive open data. One of those encounters was when I interviewed 3 random participants; one from Ghana, another from Algeria and the last person was from Nigeria. Both the Nigerian and the Algerian were well positioned when it comes to open data. Unlike my Ghanaian colleague who had little or no knowledge about open data. According to him, he doesn't see the need for people to open their data for public consumption as compared to public sectors who holds tons of data but doesn't allow public access. The first example he sighted was the Statistical service in Ghana.
The Ghana Open Data Upload Challenge and Hackathon
On the 2nd of April 2019, Mobile Web Ghana with support from the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) and the ministry of Communications organised the first ever open data upload challenge and hackathon in Ghana.
Several datasets were collected from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, National Road Safety Commission, The Registrar General´s Department and many other MDAs in Ghana. Over 50 data experts and IT professionals participated in an intensive 4 days data challenge.
The event officially started on the 2nd day of April 219 with an introduction to the Ghana open data portal by Mr Eric Akumia from NITA. In his presentation he said:
Open data empowers citizens to take action. This enables a vibrant ecosystem.
He further elaborated on how open data will foster consensual building with citizens over the adoption of a national policy in sectors such as education, agriculture and the health sector. Participants were divided into several groups to compete in the upload challenge using Datasets from the participating MDAs.
At the end of the challenge, the energy commission group took home Ghs 2,000 cash prize for emerging winners. the 1st and 2nd runners up also walked away with Ghs 1,500 and a laptop respectively.
The data hackathon Challenge
The last 2 days were focused on data hackathon where participants were asked to develop applications from the data sets the government agencies uploaded on the portal. Over 17 different groups of developers presented their data ideas to the judges to select winners for the next stage of the project.
Click here to [Watch the hackathon challenge ]
At the end of the data hackathon challenge, a group called "Waste to Gold" won the ultimate prize with an amount Ghs 15,000.
Open Data: The new ¨Oil¨ in Africa
Open data, as they say, is the new ¨Oil¨ in Africa. We need to find it, we need to extract, refine, distribute and monetize it for sustainable development in Africa. A search on the Open Governance Partnership portal shows the involvement of Ghana from 2012. The Open Government Partnership brings together government reformers and civil society leaders to create action plans that make governments more inclusive, responsive and accountable. In the spirit of multi-stakeholder collaboration, OGP is overseen by a Steering Committee including representatives of governments and civil society organizations.
Our road map
Ghana joined the Open governance partnership initiative in 2012 with a 2 action plans and four (4) commitments:
Our challenges in the open governance partnership initiative
Challenges in getting data
Information not timely
Quality of data
No open data policy
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