Ghana to host 2nd Africa Open Data Conference

Ghana has been selected to host the second Africa Open Data Conference (AODC) in July. 

A statement issued by the National Information and Technology Agency (NITA) and copied to the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday said the four-day conference would be held from July 17-21.

It said the first edition of the AODC was organized by the Africa Open Data Collaborative in September 2015 in Tanzania hosted by the Government of Tanzania and its people and supported by the World Bank, Code for Africa, Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition initiative, Worldwide Web Foundation and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

It said the event occurred over four days and included practical training for startups and entrepreneurs, high-level meetings of diplomats and policymakers working toward improving data for decision-making, planning sessions for advocacy organizations, and hands-on demonstrations of innovations fuelled by open data.

It noted that the event attracted 500 participants from 32 countries and helped catalyze the growth and partnership of new actors into the civic technology space.

The statement said the 2017 Africa Open Data Conference in Accra, Ghana, is set to attract over 600 delegates drawn from all over Africa and the world at large.

It said this auspicious event would push the leadership role of the private sector in supplying, using, and demanding open data, and bring together brilliant innovators and visionaries to grow their networks, hone their success, and connect with sources of support, and introduce investors and donors to an expanding sector that seeks and supplies open data to achieve development goals in Africa and across the globe.

It pointed out that the event would help identify existing and potential solutions for closing the open data skill gap in Ghana and Africa.

It would help develop and expand partnerships that build open data awareness and drive use of open data among businesses, media, governments, academia, civil society, citizens, and advocacy organizations.

It mentioned that it would connect new actors with existing projects and initiatives that would benefit from open data, including the Sustainable Development Goals, Data Journalism, and Ghana-specific programs such as e-Transform.

It would improve the quality and re-usability of open data services including the Ghana Open Data Portal.

It would review progress made for open data in Ghana and in Africa and launch new opportunities for mentorship, training, and funding of open data-driven projects and initiatives including the second round of the Africa Open Data Challenge.

It would promote the development and harmonization of data standards across Africa.

It would help build healthier communities through improved open data in Africa.

The event would identify the kind of data regime needed for the most effective and robust systems for the implementation and reaching the SDG’s.

It would increase the demand for open data across sectors and including open Government data in Ghana and Africa.

It would elevate existing and ongoing work to be counted toward progress of SDGs.

The statement said Ghana was part of the Africa open data Community and signed unto the Open Government Partnership in September, 2011, which sparked off a quest for Ghana to open-up its government data; with some government data now opened for public use.

The Africa Open Data Community is a convening space for technology industry, small businesses, journalists, civic technology, entrepreneurs, researchers, students, and IT solution providers. Others are banks, telecoms, insurance companies, NGO’s, donor organizations, and local and national governments to connect virtually and in person to share advances in open data, share lessons, and form new collaborations.

The conversation of Open data is a timeless concept: it is information accessible by anyone. We realise the importance of Open data as a growing global resource with potential to grow business, improve quality of government service, and increase innovation in healthcare, education, transportation, agriculture, gender equality.

We seek a transparent, open dialogue and concrete action on common challenges and shared solutions for communities and partners across Africa.

The Ghana Open Data Initiative (GODI) was started in January 2012 as a project under the National Information Technology Agency (NITA).

Through the support of the Web Foundation, NITA built the initiative with the main aim of creating an open data ecosystem in Ghana and subsequently the Ghana Open Data portal.

The GODI project 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.

Currently, Ghana is one of the few countries that have an open data portal.

The Ministry of Communications has launched the e-Transform project, a World Bank project, that has amongst others a component to revamp the Ghana Open Data Initiative and improved the Ghana open data portal.

Source: GNA

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