On Monday, the 30th of July, 2018, Mobile Web Ghana invited stakeholders of the Open Data ecosystem in Ghana to dialogue on the development of the Ghana Open Data Portal. Mobile Web Ghana and SBC4D have been contracted by the government of Ghana to develop the Ghana Open Data Portal. This is what necessitated the dialogue with the stakeholders. Ghana is rebooting its open data project, and the purpose of the meet-up was for all stakeholders to revisit how the government open data portal has progressed since its inception in Ghana (2010).
Mr. Aman Grewal, a representative of SBC4D was present to moderate the discussions. He started the session with a presentation, by giving a brief history of how the open data movement started in Ghana. He highlighted that, there were two sides to open data. These are the Supply Side which sees government supply lots of data to the public and the Use Side which sees the usage of data. He explained that open data cannot exist in isolation hence it has to have legal backing and policies to regulate its usage. He pointed out the deliverables through which the open data project would be achieved. These he identified as;
- How the government can publish open data and how best the technical issues of open data can be identified.
- Training / Workshops for both Civil Society Organizations and the general public.
Mr. Aman Grewal went on to give a brief introduction of SBC4D, the organization he represents. SBC4D is known for Open Data training and undertaking ICT for Development projects. SBC4D started its work in Ghana in 2010. They have also been in countries like Chili, Indonesia, and Afghanistan where they helped in their open data projects.
In his presentation, Mr. Grewal described open data as data that is free, can be reused and redistributed to create value. He mentioned that the policy objectives of open data are the following:
- New Economic and Social value
- Improving public service
- Having a more transparent government
- Having a more effective government
Furthermore, Mr. Aman Grewal explained what open data is, in two dimensions.
1. Technically Open: Open data which is available in standardized, and in a machine-readable format.
2. Legally Open: Open data which operates with a license, allowing commercial and non-commercial exploitation and redistribution without restitution.
Participants were given the opportunity to ask questions, make contributions, and share their experiences and challenges with open in the various industries they represented. We were happy to have participants from organizations such as the World Bank, CDD Ghana, Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, Ghana Monitoring and Evaluation Forum, University of Ghana, etc. attend the event and share their ideas and challenges with us.