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Open data and information key to Africa’s development – Akufo-Addo

July 21, 2017, 1:44 p.m.

THE President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has emphasised the critical roles information and data play in transforming economies and improving the living standards of the people and his government’s commitment to ensure an open data and information sources.

According to the President, the rapid evolution of the advanced and emerging market economies have been made possible largely as a result of the employment of information and data.

“If we in Africa are to emulate them and be an integral part of the ongoing data revolution, there is the need firstly for us to require the owners of data to make them publicly available in ways that are useful to all potential users”.

President Akufo-Addo made this known when he delivered the keynote address at the 2017 Africa Open Data Conference, yesterday at the Accra International Conference Centre.

He further stressed on the need for African governments to educate and improve the data literacy of their people and well as encourage innovations on the effective and proper way of collecting and sharing data to ensure accuracy and relevance.

On the measures put in place to ensure the ease of availability of data and information in Ghana, President Akufo-Addo stated that the nation has committed a budget to revamping the Ghana Open Data Initiative.

Through this initiative, President Akufo-Addo indicated the resolve of government to ensure that “government data is legally and technically open, data released from all Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies are made available, and the use of open data is promoted within government and the open data ecosystem”.

These initiatives, President Akufo-Addo stressed, will enhance the opportunity for economic development and creation of jobs in the area of digital technology for young people, who will be assisted to develop open data mobile and web applications for business.

“It will also encourage citizens to hold government accountable and ensure greater transparency. Open data must work in Ghana for the benefit of the citizenry,” he added.

The President continued, “As part of promoting the availability of data, government, under the e-Transform Project, is working to create innovation hubs (iHubs) and mobile labs (mLabs). Government will establish an Open Data Institute to promote education, management and use of open data, especially for the development of mobile and web-based applications”.

The Minister for Communications, Ursula Owusu Ekuful, reiterated the pivotal role efficient use of data is to our national effort at digitisation.

“Data has become a commodity with major socio-economic value and we cannot develop without harnessing its potential for growth”.

In furtherance of this, however, she said her Ministry will redirect the open data initiative to produce the desired results.

“We will review the legal framework to remove any bottle necks in promoting open data and lead the effort to sensitize, promote and encourage access to and use of open data”.

To help facilitate the use of open data for development she said the ministry of communications will develop a data analytic strategy as core part of the open data for development programme, to ensure that data impacts administrative efficiency through evidenced based decision making outcomes.