Accra, Jan 27, GNA – Government in collaboration with World Wide Web Foundation (WWWF), an NGO, is to commence the implementation of the Ghana Open Data Initiative to make government data available to citizens for re-use. The initiative if implemented will make government more transparent, improve efficiency and spark off innovation from the demand side for applications to be developed to better serve the citizenry. Mr. William Tevie, Director General of the National Information Technology Agency (NITA), announced this at a stakeholders meeting to sign a memorandum of Understanding between Government of Ghana and WWWF in Accra on Thursday.
He said in September 2010, Ghana made a commitment to join the open Government partnership, an initiative of the United State Government. “This was a commitment by the Government of Ghana to work towards an open Government data initiative, which will make Government data available to the citizens for re-use,” he added. Mr. explained that providing Government data without developing an open data community that works towards making it meaningful and re-usable by the citizenry would not serve the interest of the state. He noted that over the years the agency has been rolling out the e-government infrastructure and facilitating the roll-out of e-government application. The aim of the project in rolling out the network is to ensure efficiency within government and improved services for citizens and business.
Mr. Jose Alonso, Data Programme Manager, WWWF, said they were in the country to share their experience and expertise and to support government in the implementation process. He noted that the initiative would increase transparency of governments; boost number of services to people, new business opportunities and jobs for application and service developers, new synergies between government, public administration, and civil society organizations. “It will also increase citizen participation and inclusion through extended offers of services closer to them and new, innovative uses of data in a ways that owners of data would never have thought of,” he added. He observed that for data to be useful, it should be complete, primary, timeliness, ease of physical and electronic access and machine readability. Mr Alonso called for stakeholder support to fulfill Government’s commitment to the open government partnership.
Dr Nii Quaynor, Board Chairman of NITA, called for the development of a multi-sectorial ownership of the initiative to enhance transparency and accountability in government institutions.