Open Data

Open Data

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1916-5.ch007


The chapter addresses the open data initiatives. The openness of data translates into the ease of access to information for the citizen. This chapter discusses the current status of, and recent evolution in, open data with the emphasis on open government data in the African data communities based on the findings of the Africa Open Data Barometer and the Africa Open Data Index. It addressed issues on the process of transforming national data ecosystems to a state where data from both conventional and new sources are being harnessed to inform decision-making better and enable sustainable development.
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Main Focus Of The Chapter

A Consensus on data in Africa was adopted at the Eighth Joint Annual Meeting of the African Union Technical Committee on Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration and the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, of the Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, March 30 and 31, 2015.

Data Revolution in Africa

The United Nations Development Program, the African Center for Statistics of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the World Wide Web Foundation and the Open Data for Development Network have published the first edition of the report on the Revolution data in Africa: Africa Data Revolution Report 2016.

This is a biennial report that highlights developments in the national data ecosystems on the continent. It attempts to map the continent's data ecosystem, referring to the production, distribution and use of data by public and private sector actors, and civil society, in relation to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (Economic Commission for Africa, 2017, 2018).

The Principles of the Africa Data Revolution

(Economic Commission for Africa, 2015) provide the following principles:

  • Data must be disaggregated to the lowest levels of administration by gender, age, income, disability and other categories.

  • People must be counted to make them count. Civil registration should be accessible and provided at no cost.

  • Official data belong to the people and should be open to all. They should be open by default.

  • The data community should embrace the United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics as a starting point.

  • There is a need for governance and coordination of the data ecosystem.

  • African governments should acknowledge open data provided by credentialled data communities as acceptable sources of country statistical information.

  • Technology, new forms of data and other innovations should be actively embraced.

  • Data communities should promote a demand-driven data user culture spanning the entire ecosystem.

  • Privacy and intellectual property rights should be respected.

  • Data should be translated into information that is simple, understandable and relevant. Information must be timely, accurate, relevant and accessible.

  • Data must be driven by needs rather than for their own sake.

  • The data revolution in all its facets should be gender-sensitive.

  • The Africa Data Revolution report 2016 assesses infrastructure needs and the nature and impact of existing protocols governing data production on the continent, accessibility, analysis, privacy, security and ethics in Africa, with a focus on open data systems, “Big Data” and innovations.

The Africa Data Revolution Report 2018 examines the recent evolution and current state of open data – with an emphasis on Open Government Data – in the African data communities. It explores key countries across the continent, researches a wide range of open data initiatives, and benefits from global thematic expertise.

In particular, this report features a dedicated Open Data Barometer survey as well as a special 2018 Africa Open Data Index regional edition surveying the status and impact of open data and dataset availability in 30 African countries. .

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