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Liberia

e-Government (LR0023)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Liberia, Second National Action Plan, 2015-2017

Action Plan Cycle: 2015

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: MICAT , * MOPT, LTA

Support Institution(s): Accountabil ity Lab, iLab, LMC, IBM

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government

IRM Review

IRM Report: Liberia End-of-Term Report 2015-2017, Liberia Progress Report 2015-2017

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Keep Liberians both home and abroad as well as foreigners alike informed about the programs and policies of Government. It will also provide point of reference and reduce misinformation
Performance indicators
Number of functioning standardized websites of GoL institutions
Frequency at which GoL websites are updated by trained staff
Knowmore LIB functional and receiving requests Number of staff trained

IRM Midterm Status Summary

For Commitment details, see Liberia Progress Report 2015-2017.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Cluster: Publish Government Held Data Online in Standardized, Easily Accessible Format

4.2 Improve GoL online provision of information

(MICAT, MOPT, LTA with support from Accountability Lab, iLab, LMC, IBM; 1 July 2015-30 June 2016).

Milestones:

· 4.2.1 Standardize government websites with gov.lr standards and policies and train requisite staff for updates and maintenance

· 4.2.2 Develop “Knowmore LIB” open data and citizen navigation system

4.5. Establish and launch an Open Data portal to provide the public access to all relevant information on Liberia

(MICAT, MOF, MOS, PMU/MOPT with support from CENTAL, iLab, Accountability Lab, IBM; 20 July 2015-30 [sic] February 2016).

Milestones:

· 4.5.1 Determine portal specifications and ensure the setting up and launch of the Open Data Portal

Commitment Aim:

Creating an open data portal on which the government regularly publishes data, statistics, and information of public interest, could transform access to information in Liberia. Before the commitment period, non-standardized government websites, difficult to search domains, and poor quality or outdated webpages inhibited access to information. Applying a set of standards to government websites can improve citizens’ and CSOs’ ability to find information, and the portal could dramatically simplify access to such data as land use, crime maps, health and disease reports, government budgets and spending, and foreign aid projects and donations.

Commitment 4.2 seeks to standardize and train staff on how to maintain government websites. The Ministry of Post and Telecommunications is the lead arm of the government responsible for administering the gov.lr domain and crafting policies related to ICT platform standards. The Knowmore LIB citizen navigation system will focus on publishing open data and reports in machine-readable formats that are easy for citizens to research.

Commitment 4.5 aims to establish and launch an open data portal to centralize and publish information from all government agencies. This commitment could have a transformative impact on citizens’ and CSOs’ access to current, relevant and useful government information and data.

Status

Midterm:

Commitment 4.2: Substantial

According to the government’s self-assessment report, 45 ministries, agencies, and commissions (MACs) have implemented the gov.lr standards. Representatives from iLab, a CSO partnering with the government to implement this commitment, confirm that new ICT policies and standards were endorsed by Cabinet members and distributed to all line MACs. iLab concurred with the government’s assessment that 45 MACs (approximately 70 percent) had updated their websites as of June 2016.

Commitment 4.5: Limited

The open data portal was still under construction at the midterm. Progress has been limited, according to the government’s self-assessment report. For more information, please see the 2015–2016 IRM midterm report.

End-of-Term:

Commitment 4.2: Substantial

According to the end of term self-assessment from the government, due to a lack of funding there has been no increase in the number (45) of MACs that have updated their website using the ICT policy standards as a guide. Additional Public Information Officers (PIO) have been trained to update the website and provide feedback to users. However, the provision of timely responses to requests has not been encouraging.[Note52: Interview with Emmanuel Howe, Independent Information Commission, November 2017.] The IIC believes PIOs should be specifically recruited to carry out this responsibility.

Commitment 4.5: Limited

According to the self-assessment report, Liberia Open Data portal prototype has been created.[Note53: Liberia Data Portal, http://liberia.opendataforafrica.org/] The website provides basic Sustainable Development Goals about Liberia, disaggregating them into counties. It also provides basic information about Liberia GDP, population, healthcare, agriculture, etc. However, the portal has no permanent URL and the data is not updated on a regular basis.

Did it Open Government?

Commitment 4.2

Access to Information: Marginal

Before the implementation of this commitment, most of Liberia’s ministries and government institutions did not comply with the website standards information disclosure. After the implementation of this commitment, 45 MACs have updated their website. However, the lack of timely feedback to public users still limits public members requesting information.[Note54: Interview with Federation of Liberia Youths, November 2017.] Moreover, on some of the websites, such as the Ministry of Finance, the data formats provided are not easy to understand or user-friendly to navigate for the general public.

Commitment 4.5

Access to Information: Marginal

In an interview with members of the civil society communities in Bong, Lofa and Montserrado, most users who have assessed the government website expressed appreciation for the data provided. This has been helpful in program design and baseline assessments. However, some users suggested conducting consultative sessions on which data would be useful to standardize, as the information is still limited and cannot be permanently accessed through the portal.

Carried forward?

This commitment was carried forward into the next action plan. Commitment 10 aims to implement an open data citizen navigation portal. Different activities are proposed, such as a survey to understand citizens’ needs on government data and the creation of a geospatial portal that includes the concession agreements of the different ministries.


Commitments

Open Government Partnership