Towards A Decade Of Open Government Data In Africa: A Fit Viability Case Analysis Of Ghana

ABSTRACT

Almost a decade ago in 2011, the Government of Ghana together with other countries in Africa, became a signatory to the Open Government Partnership (OGP) charter – a global initiative aimed at liberating government-controlled data for use, reuse and distribution by citizens and businesses. The project which harnesses modern information technology tools to promote transparency, fight corruption and empower citizens, has however stalled in many African countries including Ghana. For instance, a pre-audit of the Government of Ghana open data web portal and eight others across the continent shows a growing redundancy of the platform and therefore their intended goals.

With varied successes and prospects of Open Government Data (OGD) recorded worldwide, this study sets out to investigate the reasons behind the seeming idleness of OGD activities in Africa in order to determine strategies towards better outcomes. Ghana is used as the case study because it exhibits the relative resource poverty but a maturing democracy which has become notable in Africa. In particular, the study investigates the Task, Technology, Economic, IT infrastructure and Organizational fit viability as a measure of performance of Ghana’s OGD implementation. To do this, the Ghana OGD project is compared with global OGD best practices and standards to ascertain whether the current structure of the Ghana Open Data Initiative (GODI) meets established international standards and is sustainable. The study builds on recent research in OGD by empirically determining the suitability and sustainability of a country’s OGD set up.

Using a critical realism paradigm and a qualitative research approach, the study focuses on three key actors within the GODI ecosystem: the implementing body, data suppliers and data

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users. In all, the study interviewed 6 persons, two each from the actors in the GODI ecosystem. The selection of the 6 interviewees was based on their level of involvement and the strategic role they play in the implementation of GODI. Findings suggest that while the current GODI is fit for the purpose for which it was established, it is however far from achieving its viability objectives. The study ascribed the following reasons for the lack of viability as a function of the low performance of GODI: (1) lack of synergy between stakeholders and relevant actors in the GODI ecosystem. This was largely due to the inability of the implementing body to engage relevant stakeholders whose activities centers on the use of government data. Besides, the implementing agency could not also bring to the fore of citizens the opportunities of the initiative; (2) lack of sustainable funding to the implementing body was prevalent. It was established that, the initiative was not given prominence in terms of budgetary allocation. Thus, the implementing body had to sustain the project from its own budgetary allocation from the Central Government; (3) lack of or poorly trained personnel for the project was also pervasive across its key actors. Again, the initiative was inundated with several technical challenges arising out of the lack of competences of data generators and staff of the implementing body. It can be inferred that, OGD was still evolving among developing economies and Ghana not excluded, the concept was still new and demanded an in-depth technical knowhow which was lacking; and (4) partial neglect of GODI as a result of the implementation of a new e-government project called eTransform. There was a failure to transfer the ideals of GODI to eTransform, thereby making GODI less sustainable.

Practically, the implications of this research is to provide a guide to OGD implementing agencies in developing economies to pay more attention to the legal, technical, environmental, structural and social dimensions which hinders the sustainability of OGDI. Again, the study also provides a theoretical model that extends the fit viability theory which goes beyond the

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adoption and implementation to identifying the required task and environmental needs and assesses performance in OGD implementation. The study recommends the development and enactment of a comprehensible OGD policy guideline and strategy to mitigate the barriers besetting OGD initiatives in developing economies. There is a need to also integrate OGD with other primary e-government initiatives in order to enhance visibility. The lack of integration is likely to reduce commitment of governments as other initiatives get their attention. The study also proposes a conceptualized framework that extends the fit viability theory which can be useful in future OGD research.

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APA

ABUBAKAR, S (2021). Towards A Decade Of Open Government Data In Africa: A Fit Viability Case Analysis Of Ghana. Afribary. Retrieved from https://afribary.com/works/towards-a-decade-of-open-government-data-in-africa-a-fit-viability-case-analysis-of-ghana

MLA 8th

ABUBAKAR, SULEMANA "Towards A Decade Of Open Government Data In Africa: A Fit Viability Case Analysis Of Ghana" Afribary. Afribary, 12 Apr. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/towards-a-decade-of-open-government-data-in-africa-a-fit-viability-case-analysis-of-ghana. Accessed 30 May. 2024.

MLA7

ABUBAKAR, SULEMANA . "Towards A Decade Of Open Government Data In Africa: A Fit Viability Case Analysis Of Ghana". Afribary, Afribary, 12 Apr. 2021. Web. 30 May. 2024. < https://afribary.com/works/towards-a-decade-of-open-government-data-in-africa-a-fit-viability-case-analysis-of-ghana >.

Chicago

ABUBAKAR, SULEMANA . "Towards A Decade Of Open Government Data In Africa: A Fit Viability Case Analysis Of Ghana" Afribary (2021). Accessed May 30, 2024. https://afribary.com/works/towards-a-decade-of-open-government-data-in-africa-a-fit-viability-case-analysis-of-ghana