Ghana Open Data Portal : unleashing the power of Open Data
Through the support of the Worldwide Web Foundation, National Information Technology Agency (NITA) built the Ghana Open Data Initiative (GODI) initiative with the main aim of creating an open data ecosystem in Ghana and subsequently the Ghana Open Data portal.
The aforementioned GODI initiative (started in January 2012 as a project under the NITA) was the fourth thematic areas of the Ghana Action Plan 2013 adopted by Ghana Open Government Partnership Steering Committee with its secretariat at the Public Sector Reform Secretariat under the office of the president.
“Ghana’s Open Data movement is young and this means there is a lot to learn, understand and implement to reach the standard of a world-class open data community. Ensuring that the right laws and mandates are in place and executed is key to creating the foundation for stakeholders to research, innovate and build capacity with open data” (School of Data).
Current, Ghana is one of the few countries that has an Open Data Portal where government agencies could make its data available in a format that civil society organizations (CSOs), the developer community, academia, the media, industry and orninary citizens could re-use.
Open government data is particularly important to low and middle income countries like Ghana because:
Transparency and accountability are critical dimensions for foreign aid and investments, which in turn is essential for social and economic development.
The potential of ICT in developing countries to provide basic services in health, education, business and governance has been highlighted for more than a decade by The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).
Easy access to government-held data reduces risks and transaction costs in the economic sector, thus reducing barriers to growth.
Citizen inclusion and participation in government agenda have been historically low in developing countries, particularly due to lack of information and infrastructure. Increasing such citizen participation has proven to be essential for the establishment of stable democratic processes.
Data on government services is capable of attracting groups and organizations to form communities whose activities can improve social capital and economic growth.
Ghana’s decision to create an open data portal was informed by the fact the Open Government Data (OGD) programs around the world have demonstrated multiple benefits. GODI perceives that Ghana can gain all the benefit of open data which are grouped around three main themes:
- Transparency and Accountability.
- Improved public services.
- Economic growth.
With this came several forums, projects and conferences to unleash the power of open data sets through capacity-building, research and innovation.
Did you know that?
- Ghana has been selected to host the second Africa Open Data Conference (AODC) in July 2017 ? The conference will be held at the Accra International Conference Centre from 17 – 21 July 2017. Among different goals for this conference there are those to improve the quality and usability of open data services including the Ghana Open Data Portal.
- The e-Transform (a World Bank) Ghana project - launched by the Ministry of Communications - has amongst others a component to revamp the GODI and improve the Ghana Open Data portal.
- Forum on Open Data, Open Science and Open Access to Agricultural Information, Accra, Ghana
"Open Data portals are web-based interfaces designed to make it easier to find re-usable information. Like library catalogues, they contain metadata records of datasets published for re-use, i.e. mostly relating to information in the form of raw, numerical data and not to textual documents. In combination with specific search functionalities, they facilitate finding datasets of interest. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are also often available, offering direct and automated access to data for software applications", - Digital Single Market.