Open data is becoming increasingly important in the implementation of Africa’s developmental agenda by supporting evidence-informed decision making to facilitate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The implementation of open data essential for national governments to accurately plan, fund and evaluate development activities has been jeopardized by hurdles relating to coordination of data within government, lack of adequate policies to ensure funding of capacity building and consequently low funding for the supply of usable open data. This has been further been exacerbated by the lack of understanding about open data within governments to successfully adopt an open data approach to implementation, monitoring and review of development policies.
Since its inception in 2016, the African Open Data Network (AODN) has been at the forefront of championing the production and use of open data to drive development outcomes in Africa.
AODN is currently running the Africa Open Data Fellowship- 2019 in Kenya, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and Rwanda to help address existential risks to open data as a key driver of sustainable development outcomes. The fellowship will support governments to harness and open data from agriculture, health, education, public finance and public contracting by conducting research to improve access and to assist in improving decision making in government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs). In so doing, AODN will support them in their efforts to implement informed and inclusive development interventions. By making evidence-informed decisions, African countries could also increase public participation which is often marred by lack of transparency and accountability in much of Africa. Fellows will work closely with MDAs to build momentum in developing roadmaps towards sustainable open data initiatives.