Skip Navigation
Ghana

Open Data (GH0019)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Ghana, Second Action Plan, 2015-2017

Action Plan Cycle: 2015

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: NITA, GNA, PSRS

Support Institution(s): Ghana Statistical Service, Data Controllers, Research Institutions, CSOs with interest in Open Data, MDAs, CAGD, YES-Ghana

Policy Areas

Open Data

IRM Review

IRM Report: Ghana End-of-Term Report 2015-2017

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Civic Participation , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

During the Action Plan Period, GODI will work towards improving the efficiency of the Open
Data portal (data.gov.gh), data collection capabilities of data controllers and focus on showing impact in four sectors – health, education, energy and agriculture – by ensuring that full benefits of open data can be shown in these sectors.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

6. Ghana Open Data 2.0

Commitment Text:

During the Action Plan Period, GODI will work towards improving the efficiency of the Open Data portal (data.gov.gh), data collection capabilities of data controllers and focus on showing impact in four sectors – health, education, energy and agriculture – by ensuring that full benefits of open data can be shown in these sectors.

Actions:

·  Upgrade Ghana Open Data portal to enhance data management features and incorporate open data standards in order to meet global standards

·  Infuse analytic engines into the Ghana Open Data portal platform to help users of the portal do more data analysis (correlation of datasets) and make evidence-based decisions

·  Establish data standards and do four collections and management capacity building workshops in each of the four selected sectors

·  Put up 50 dataset that has business value for economic empowerment of open data entrepreneurs, journalists and developers

·  Organize four Hackathons (or boot camps) every quarter for each of the sectors over the two (2) year period to develop citizen-centric free application for use by citizens

·  Put in place an effective impact monitoring system to measure economic and social impact

·  In collaboration with other open data stakeholders, GODI will establish the Ghana Open Data Alliance

Editorial Note: Milestone 6.3 encompasses two of the actions in the commitment text: (1) Establish data standards and do four collections and management capacity building workshops in each of the four selected sectors and (2) put up 50 dataset that has business value for economic empowerment of open data entrepreneurs, journalists and developers.


Lead Institutions: NITA, GNA, PSRS
Supporting Institutions: Ghana Statistical Service, Data Controllers, Research Institutions, CSOs with interest in Open Data, MDAs, CAGD, YES-Ghana

Start date: Not specified                                                     End date: Dec 2017

 

Context and objectives

The main focus of the commitment is to improve data collection and management in the health, education, energy, and agriculture sector, as well as to enable people to access Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDA) data online. In 2011, Ghana joined the global Open Data Initiative (ODA) which led to the establishment of the National Information and Technology Agency (NITA) and the Ghana Open Data Initiative (GODI). The purpose of GODI is to develop an open data community of government, civil society organizations, developers, academia, journalists and citizenry to develop an open data portal that could bring about efficiency and transparency in government. The portal provides datasets that can be downloaded free of charge. In Ghana, internet users increased from 10.6 % in 2012 to 18.9 % in 2014 and in 2016 it is estimated to be 28.4 %. “Ghana Internet Users," Internet Live Stats (2016), http://www.internetlivestats.com/internet-users/ghana/.  

Assessing these milestones has proven difficult due to their technical nature and the lack of comprehensive information available from NITA. Efforts to contact YES Ghana, one of the CSOs mentioned in the action plan, went unanswered. Hence the researcher did not have any third party sources for assessment of this commitment.

None of the milestones clearly specify the implementing institutions. Since there are three institutions mentioned as lead agencies, it is difficult to know which institution is implementing which milestone.

Upgrade Open Data Portal: This milestone commits government to upgrade the open data portal to enhance data management but does not specify which new features would be added nor which international open data standards are being considered by the government. As a result, the IRM researcher coded the potential impact as minor since it is difficult to estimate how this milestone would improve the existing portal.

Technical Improvement of Open Data Portal: Similarly to Milestone 6.1, this milestone does not detail the steps NITA will take to improve data analysis.

Data Standards, Capacity Building, and 50 Datasets for the Portal: This aims to build capacity and train those in charge of data management in the four sectors involved in this commitment. The milestone also targets entrepreneurs, journalists and developers to ensure the information released by NITA meets their needs. However, the lack of information regarding the content of the training makes the potential impact of the milestone difficult to assess.

Organize Hackatons: The ultimate goal of the four Hackathons is to create applications that are relevant to citizens and free to use. Depending on the outcome of these hackathons, the applications could increase access to information or allow citizens to report issues in their community. 

Impact Monitoring System: This milestone aims to establish an impact monitoring system. However, the milestone was broadly stated making it difficult to know the sectors involved, ascertain the areas within the sectors for impact monitoring, or estimate the indicators of the milestone.

Ghana Open Data Alliance: This anticipates NITA’s establishment of the Ghana Open Data Alliance (GODA). The purpose of GODA is to bring together public and private stakeholders to create common standards for collecting, producing, sharing and using open data. Justin Chisenga, “Multi-actor platform to advocate for open data in Ghana on the way,” Blogger  (13 Jul., 2016), http://justinchisenga.blogspot.com/2016/07/multi-actor-platform-to-advocate-for.html.  GODA extends beyond the four sectors mentioned earlier to incorporate stakeholders to advocate for open data. This participatory platform could help ensure open data sharing in the country.

Completion

The implementation of this commitment is limited but many of the milestones are in the process of being carried out.

Upgrade Open Data Portal: According to a NITA representative, the GODI team upgraded the portal to a DKAN version with enhanced data management features. The respondent did not provide details of the best practice standards.  DKAN is an open-source data management platform that allows users to publish, manage, and maintain open data content. Under a program implemented by NITA called e-transform, the institution prepared the terms of reference (TOR) and hired a consultant to further update the portal to global best practices. The procurement process and implementation may take up to six months. While the portal appears to have been upgraded with the DKAN feature, NITA did not provide a copy of the TOR and the second part of the milestone remains unfulfilled.

Technical Improvement of Open Data Portal: Regarding infusing analytic engines into the portal, NITA said the current portal has the ability to do co-relations of two datasets and technically has the analytics feature. According to the respondent, this feature will be enhanced further after the upgrade is done. However, the IRM researcher could not find the analytic features on the portal website.

Data Standards, Capacity Building, and 50 Datasets for the Portal:  According to the NITA respondent, the institution developed the relevant TORs for establishing data standards but did not provide copies of the TORs to the IRM researcher. In addition, NITA developed the TOR for establishing standards and business-centric datasets and the procurement process will commence soon. The NITA respondent did not specify a specific timeline.

Organize Hackathons: No Hackathons have occurred. NITA plans to organize hackathons for 2017.

Impact Monitoring System: According to NITA, the monitoring program has not started but will commence before the close of 2016. The focus of impact monitoring will be on four key sectors: Education, Energy, Agriculture & Nutrition and Health.

Ghana Open Data Alliance: In July 2016, there was a forum on Open Data, Open Science and Open Access in Agriculture in Ghana during which participants agreed to establish a multi-actor platform to advocate for open data in the country. Ibid., 2.  The researcher was not able to solicit participants’ views on the importance of GODA. NITA indicated that GODA’s draft by-laws are in place but these were not on NITA’s website. The bye-laws are currently not available on the internet.  The NITA respondent mentioned that discussions with stakeholders are in progress and the by-laws should launch by close of 2016.

Early Results (if any)

It is too early to assess results on the portal as many of the milestones are still in progress.

Next Steps

The researcher believes that expanding GODI to cover all the public institutions will help address the challenges associated with public institutions’ release of information. Even before the Right to Information bill passes, GODI can serve as a platform for providing the necessary systems for implementing RTI law.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

6. Ghana Open Data 2.0

Commitment Text:

During the Action Plan Period, GODI will work towards improving the efficiency of the Open Data portal (data.gov.gh), data collection capabilities of data controllers and focus on showing impact in four sectors—health, education, energy and agriculture—by ensuring that full benefits of open data can be shown in these sectors.

Actions:

  • Upgrade Ghana Open Data portal to enhance data management features and incorporate open data standards in order to meet global standards
  • Infuse analytic engines into the Ghana Open Data portal platform to help users of the portal do more data analysis (correlation of datasets) and make evidence-based decisions
  • Establish data standards and do four collections and management capacity building workshops in each of the four selected sectors
  • Put up 50 datasets that has business value for economic empowerment of open data entrepreneurs, journalists and developers
  • Organize four Hackathons (or boot camps) every quarter for each of the sectors over the two (2) year period to develop citizen-centric free application for use by citizens
  • Put in place an effective impact monitoring system to measure economic and social impact
  • In collaboration with other open data stakeholders, GODI will establish the Ghana Open Data Alliance

Editorial Note: Milestone 6.3 encompasses two of the actions in the commitment text: (1) Establish data standards and do four collections and management capacity building workshops in each of the four selected sectors and (2) put up 50 datasets that have business value for economic empowerment of open data entrepreneurs, journalists and developers.

Responsible Institution(s): NITA, GNA, PSRS

Supporting Institution(s): Ghana Statistical Service, Data Controllers, Research Institutions, CSOs with interest in Open Data, MDAs, CAGD, YES-Ghana

Start Date: Not specified End Date: December 2017

Commitment Aim:

The main focus of the commitment is to improve data collection and management in the health, education, energy, and agriculture sectors, as well as to enable people to access Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDA) data online. The impulse for this commitment is partly Ghana’s membership since 2011 in the global Open Data Initiative (ODA), which led to the establishment of the National Information and Technology Agency (NITA) and the Ghana Open Data Initiative (GODI). A second factor is the rising population of Internet users: figures grew from 10.6 percent in 2012[1] to 28.4 percent in 2016.[2] Milestones for this commitment are upgrade Open Data portal; technical improvement of the Open Data portal; data standards, capacity building, and 50 datasets for the portal; organize Hackathons; set up an Impact monitoring system; and establish a Ghana Open Data Alliance.

Status

Midterm: Limited

Completion was coded as limited, as many of the milestones were being implemented at midterm. Their technical nature and the lack of comprehensive information available from NITA made it difficult to assess them, as did abortive efforts to contact YES-Ghana, a civil society organization (CSO) and independent stakeholder mentioned in the action plan.

The GODI team upgraded the Open Data portal to a DKAN, or an open data platform, version with enhanced data management features that allow users to publish, manage and maintain open data content. NITA was however unable to provide a copy of the terms of reference (TORs) for the consultant it hired to update the portal to global best practices under an ‘e-transform’ project. It also did not provide TORs for establishing standards and business-centric datasets and the procurement process in relation to infusing analytics into the portal—the second part of this milestone. This was assessed as not started at midterm, as the IRM researcher could not find any analytics features on the portal website. Hackathons billed for 2016 were shifted to 2017, and the impact-monitoring program was expected to launch before the end of 2016.

Participants at a forum on Open Data, Open Science and Open Access in Agriculture in Ghana in July 2016 agreed to establish a multi-actor platform to advocate for open data in the country. The researcher could not find a draft version of the Ghana Open Data Alliance’s (GODA’s) bylaws, expected to come into force by the end of 2016 on NITA’s website. For more information, please see the 2015–17 IRM midterm report.

End-of-Term: Limited

The completion status of the milestones has not changed much since the IRM midterm report, as a NITA representative stated that most of them were suspended to accelerate work under the World Bank-sponsored e-transform project.[3] Ghana’s hosting of the Africa Open Data Conference in July 2017 created the opportunity for the NITA to convene open data stakeholders and provide training and data simulations to potential users.[4] It also organized several training and capacity-building events, notably within communities, although NITA did not provide evidence that these events took place to the IRM researcher. The change of government in January 2017 also obstructed the implementation of some parts of this commitment. The NITA anticipates that it will achieve full or substantial completion of this commitment during the first quarter of 2018 when the new government is more settled. YES-Ghana, a non-governmental organization (NGO) collaborating partner on the open data project, was unable to comment on completion status for this commitment as the data portal was down during an interview with the IRM researcher on 12 December 2017. YES-Ghana Director Edudzie Emmanuel did say that there has been limited communication about the GODA since its last convening in early 2017.[5]

Upgrade Open Data Portal: Completion is coded as limited. There was no significant material change to the portal since the IRM midterm report. However, NITA told the IRM researcher that the new portal is more resilient than the previous one as, for example, it no longer slows under heavy traffic. [6]

Technical Improvement of Open Data Portal: Completion is coded as not started. There were no additional technical improvements to the portal in the reporting period.

Data Standards, Capacity Building, and 50 Datasets for the Portal: Completion is coded as limited. The website home page boasts of ‘over 133 datasets from 25 agencies,’ but there are still only a few datasets available on the website, although NITA told the IRM researcher that the outstanding data have been prepared and are ready to be uploaded.[7] NITA did not respond to requests for supporting evidence. In separate interviews with the IRM researcher, YES-Ghana and PenPlusBytes affirmed that no new data had been added recently. YES-Ghana Programmes Manager said that among the challenges facing NITA is the failure of several public entities to provide data for publication.

Organise Hackathons: Completion is coded as not started. This was not done, partly because of the e-transform project and a lack of resources. NITA tried to fundraise from external donors to cover budgetary shortfalls for this activity, but did not succeed.[8] YES-Ghana informed the IRM researcher in an interview that the original idea behind this activity was to relieve the burden on the government and engage tech-savvy youth in converting raw data into information that is easily accessible by the public. YES-Ghana’s inability to confirm whether this was done suggests both a lack of implementation and the need for better communication between the government and CSO implementing partners.

Impact Monitoring System: Completion is coded as not started. This is also pending. According to the NITA respondent, a lack of resources to set this up was a major challenge. [9]

Ghana Open Data Alliance: Completion is coded as limited because NITA did not respond to requests for evidence of reported activity. According to NITA, GODA is registered as a legal entity, and is awaiting the selection of executives. It would have become operational before November 2017 except for the delay caused by the change of government in January 2017. It is not clear how much NITA is engaging GODA’s members. In an interview with the IRM researcher, Mr. Edudzie stated that he was unaware that the GODA is functional and that to his knowledge, there had been no convening of open data actors in Ghana in 2017.[10]

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Did Not Change

Civic Participation: Did Not Change

Technology & Innovation for Transparency & Accountability: Did Not Change

This commitment had two key goals: better government data collection and management and improved public online access to information in health, education, energy, and agriculture.

As of 30 December 2017, the researcher could only find the same data relating to health, statistics, and agriculture on the website that were already available as of the midterm report. Of these, most were in statistical formats that would be difficult to understand by persons lacking the requisite analytical skills. Further, the quality of the available data is unclear, a qualification that emerged from the researcher’s interview with YES-Ghana. Going forward, there needs to be galvanized action toward completing each milestone. Further, as the Director of YES Ghana pointed out, there can be no open data in Ghana without the firm legal backing of a Right to Information (RTI) law.[11]

Carried Forward?

None of the above milestones appears in the 2017–19 national action plan, despite their limited completion status. While the new milestones are important for the improvement of open data policy and practice in Ghana, some consideration could be given to the financial constraints that hampered more substantive implementation of previous milestones under this commitment.


[1] “Ghana Internet Users,” Internet Live Stats, 2016, http://www.internetlivestats.com/internet-users/ghana/

[2] “The 2016 Annual Ghana Social Media Report: A Rankings Report on the Most Influential Brands and Personalities on Social Media in Ghana,” Cliqafrica Limited and Avance Media, 2016, https://cliqafrica.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/2016-Final-Ghana-Social-Media-Rankings-Report-CliQAfrica-Ltd.pdf

[3] NITA interview by IRM researcher, 24 November 2017.

[4] NITA interview by IRM researcher, 24 November 2017.

[5] YES-Ghana interview by IRM researcher, 12 December 2017.

[6] NITA interview by IRM researcher, 24 November 2017.

[7] NITA interview by IRM researcher, 24 November 2017.

[8] NITA interview by IRM researcher, 24 November 2017.

[9] NITA interview by IRM researcher, 24 November 2017.

[10] YES-Ghana interview by IRM researcher, 12 December 2017.

[11] YES-Ghana interview by IRM researcher, 12 December 2017.


Commitments

  1. Open Contracting and Contract Monitoring

    GH0020, 2017, Infrastructure & Transport

  2. Anti-Corruption Transparency

    GH0021, 2017, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  3. Beneficial Ownership

    GH0022, 2017, Beneficial Ownership

  4. Fiscal Transparency and Accountability

    GH0023, 2017, Fiscal Transparency

  5. Extractives Sector Transparency

    GH0024, 2017, Extractive Industries

  6. Right to Information

    GH0025, 2017, Legislation & Regulation

  7. Civic Participation and Accountability

    GH0026, 2017, Fiscal Transparency

  8. Technology and Innovation

    GH0027, 2017, Capacity Building

  9. Starred commitment Open Contracting

    GH0014, 2015, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  10. RTI

    GH0015, 2015, Right to Information

  11. Citizen’S Participation

    GH0016, 2015, Public Participation

  12. Fiscal Openness

    GH0017, 2015, Legislation & Regulation

  13. Starred commitment Revenue Management

    GH0018, 2015, Legislation & Regulation

  14. Open Data

    GH0019, 2015, Open Data

  15. Fiscal Responsibility

    GH0001, 2013, Legislation & Regulation

  16. Fiscal Transparency

    GH0002, 2013, Capacity Building

  17. Right to Information

    GH0003, 2013, Capacity Building

  18. Human Rights and Anti-Corruption

    GH0004, 2013, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  19. Extractive Sector Revenue Management

    GH0005, 2013, Extractive Industries

  20. Investment Oversight

    GH0006, 2013, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  21. Citizen Participation

    GH0007, 2013, Capacity Building

  22. Code of Conduct Bill

    GH0008, 2013, Asset Disclosure

  23. Audit Reports

    GH0009, 2013, Audits and Controls

  24. National Broadcasting

    GH0010, 2013, Civic Space

  25. e-Immigration

    GH0011, 2013, Citizenship and Immigration

  26. Financial Management

    GH0012, 2013, Citizenship and Immigration

  27. Starred commitment Policy Portal

    GH0013, 2013, Citizenship and Immigration