Namati

Africa Data Revolution Report 2018: Status and Emerging Impact to Open Data in Africa

By: Jean-Paul Van Belle

In some governments, there is a slow iterative cycle between innovation, adoption, resistance and re-alignment before finally resulting in Open Government Data (OGD) institutionalization and eventual maturity. There is huge diversity between African governments, and each country presents a complex and unique picture.

In several African countries, there appears to be genuine political will to open up government-based datasets, not only for increased transparency but also to achieve economic impacts, social equity and stimulate innovation.

The role of open data intermediaries is crucial and has been insufficiently recognized in the African context.

Open Data in Africa needs a vibrant, dynamic, open and multi-tier data ecosystem if the datasets are to make a real impact. Citizens are rarely likely to access open data themselves. But the democratization of information and communication platforms has opened up opportunities among a large and diverse set of intermediaries to explore and combine relevant data sources, sometimes with private or leaked data. The news media, NGOs and advocacy groups, and to a much lesser extent academics and social or profit-driven entrepreneurs have shown that OGD can create real impact on the achievement of the SDGs.

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