…As policymakers account to citizens
By Ernest KISSIEDU
President Akufo-Addo has emphasized the need to educate Ghanaians and strengthen the level of data literacy among them.
“We need to educate and improve the data literacy of our people, and encourage innovations on how, when and what data are collected and shared so that they are up to date, disaggregated and relevant to the concerns of people and policy makers,” President Akufo-Addo noted whiles addressing the Africa Open Data Conference in Accra last Thursday.
The President said the rapid development 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 on-going data revolution, there is the need, firstly, for us to require the owners of data to make it publicly available, in ways that are useful to all potential users.”
President Akufo-Addo promised his administration will be a very transparent government where access to information will not be cumbersome but open to all.
“My government will make data from specific sectors available to the public from time to time. We will rely on open data for effective delivery,” he assured.
The President asserted that, “Our ultimate goal is to adopt the international open data charter and ensure that government data is easily accessible. This initiative will ensure the opportunity for economic development and creation of jobs in the area of digital technology for young people who are going to be assisted to develop open data mobile and web applications for businesses.”
He stressed that his government will use open data as a platform to enhance procurement, immigration, parliamentary and judicial services as well as transform the way government transact its businesses including the business of cabinet.
On the measures put in place to ensure the ease of availability of data and information in Ghana, President Akufo-Addo observed that the country has committed a budget to revamp the Ghana Open Data Initiative.
In this regard, he 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.”
“This will encourage citizens to hold government accountable and ensure greater transparency. Open data must work in Ghana for the benefit of the citizenry,” he added.
As part of promoting the availability of data, President Akufo-Addo revealed that 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.”