Open Data Barometer: Africa Regional Report
May 3, 2016
As part of our on-going analysis of the 3rd edition of the Open Data Barometer, published in April 2016, we are releasing a series of reports taking a closer look at the regional open data trends.
In this regional report we dig deeper into the Barometer’s results to take a closer look at the performance of the 21 Sub-Saharan African countries featured in the latest edition. The purpose of this regional analysis is to use the rich data to assess the state of play of open data across Africa, evaluating the readiness of African governments to implement open data practice and realise its potential to impact positively on the lives of citizens.
The results of the 2015 ODB show that Africa is lagging behind other regions in the use and impact of open data. No Sub-Saharan African country ranks in the top 40, while there are six counties in the bottom ten. Globally, there is still much work to be done: only 10% of the 1,380 datasets analysed were open.
Alarmingly, only two of these datasets were in Africa. For countries with more limited resources and arguably more pressing demands on those resources, outranking high-income countries in an open data grading may seem a remote possibility. And this may, in turn, bring into question the value of the Barometer ranking to developing countries in Africa and elsewhere.
This would, however, miss the true value of the 3rd Edition of the Barometer. For the first time, with three years of data, it is possible to detect trends at the country level. While rankings may be an effective policy lever, the trends revealed by the Barometer data allow each country to reflect on their own performance over time and within the specificities of their context.
The Barometer received funding and support from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) as a collaborative work of the Open Data for Development network (OD4D).