Building an Africa open data network
Open data is data that is available online that can be freely used, re-used, and redistributed by anyone. When used effectively, open data drives accountability in governments, creates innovations in service delivery, and improves participation in key decisions. Committed to harnessing open data for the development of Africa, an open data community has grown across the continent in recent years with initiatives in a variety of countries.
However, some open data projects in Africa have had limited results and efficacy. Studies have shown that many of these projects have failed to scale, or have not connected with others to achieve greater impact. These projects are still predominantly led or financed by non-Africans from the non-profit and public sectors. More African leadership and local institutional capacity is needed if open data is to contribute effectively to Africa’s development.
The Open Data for Development Network (OD4D) is seeking to catalyze a more vibrant, viable, and multi-stakeholder ecosystem in Africa through the creation of an Africa Open Data Network (AODN) that will serve as a knowledge hub. Through this project, the Local Development Research Initiative (LDRI) in Kenya will host the AODN hub. The AODN will be supported with additional capacity building and innovation-oriented activities, building on existing OD4D-implemented work in Africa, including efforts led by Open Knowledge International (OKI) and the Open Data Institute (ODI). Their objective is to amplify the impact of open data in Africa, powered by a network of actors.
Project activities will include promoting the adoption of improved open data principles, best practices, policies, partnerships, and use; supporting policy change and quality data release through technical assistance and peer learning for African governments; enhancing the capacity of civil society organizations to use data for advocacy, policy influence, and creating and scaling data-driven innovations; linking research with advocates, implementers, governments, civil society, communities, and the private sector to increase the effectiveness of research results in informed policy decision making; and strengthening the francophone open data community.