Open Government: Which Way Africa?
Title: Open Government: Which Way Africa?
Pages: 4 pp.
Source: CIPESA ICT Policy Briefing Series
Publisher: Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)
Date (published): 26/09/2011
Date (accessed): 13/12/2011
Type of information: briefing paper
On-line access: yes (pdf)
"The Kenya government scored what many billed a first in Sub- Saharan Africa, when it launched an open data website in July 2011. To put it plainly, the government opened itself to greater scrutiny from citizens and oversight institutions by providing them better access to information in its hands, including on expenditure and procurement. Increasingly, other African governments will be put to task to follow suit, as progressive governments the world over move to embrace the concept of open government, of which open data is a crucial element.
South Africa seems to be leading the pack in Africa in embracing open government, a benchmark on which governments should increasingly be evaluated in terms of their commitment to be accountable to their citizens. In fact, South Africa is the only African country that is part of what is set to become a powerful and popular global movement to place openness at the centre of governance and development.
Who is in The Open Gov Partnership?
The Open Government Partnership (www.opengovpartnership. org), or OGP, is a new multilateral initiative that aims “to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance”. The African countries currently eligible to join the OGP are Kenya, Liberia, Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda – and of them, by September 20, 2011, only Tanzania and Uganda had not indicated their plans to join the OGP. These countries derive their eligibility from their “demonstrated commitment to open government” in the key areas of budget transparency, access to information, asset disclosure by politicians and officials, and citizen engagement.
Overseen by a steering committee of eight governments and nine civil society organisations, the Partnership launches in September 2011, when the eight governments on the steering committee will embrace an ‘Open Government Declaration’ and announce their country action plans. More countries will subsequently be invited to join the partnership."