ODDC Context - Taking Stock of the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Open Data Initiatives in Sierra Leone


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Presentation in the first workshop of the Exploring the Emerging Impacts of Open Data in Developing Countries project. Looking at the context of open data, and the research case study planned for 2013 - 2014. See http://www.opendataresearch.org/project/2013/sdi

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ODDC Context - Taking Stock of the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Open Data Initiatives in Sierra Leone

  1. 1. Taking Stock of the Effectivenessand Efficiency of Open DataInitiatives in Post War Sierra LeoneBy Emmanuel Saffa AbdulaiAndRosemarie Y Blake
  2. 2. Background• This case study of Sierra Leone will assess the open datalandscape of Sierra Leone. It will examine how a country intransition can entrench transparency and accountability byinstituting, at various levels of government, opengovernment policies that allows for access to informationand the proactive publication of information by publicinstitutions. It will show case success stories to underpinthe legacies of such noble initiatives. The case study willfurther flash out some of the challenges that have beenfaced in the implementation of open data policies. The casestudy will make recommendations on how to overcomethese challenges.• Sierra Leone Is a tiny West African States on the WestCoast of Africa.• Very rich in natural resources with diamond, oil, ironore, bauxite, cash crops et al• Sierra Leone has just emerged from a ten year conflict
  3. 3. Background• The conflict is believed to have been fueled bynatural resources.• Heinous crimes were committed and at the end ofthe war, transitional justice mechanisms weredeveloped.• The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Reportpointed corruption, secrecy of government businessand the lack of public services.• It recommended the government to pass thefreedom of information bill, fight corruption, reviewthe official secrets act and the criminal and seditiouslibel laws.
  4. 4. Project• As a result of these recommendations,governments have passed laws and initiatedprograms to create transparency andaccountability.• This initiatives include joining the EITI process,Public Financial Management, LocalGovernment Transparency Initiatives, Accessto Information program.• This project will explore these initiatives andassess the successes and challenges of theseinitiatives
  5. 5. EITI• EITI is a super-national creature, but Sierra Leone hasacceded to it.• It expects Sierra Leone to make available informationon natural resource public.• The private companies and govt. should publishedtaxes and royalty paid• The information must be published in portals, noticeboards and in many other forms.• At the end of year, an audit is undertaken to reconciledifferences and accountability to the public.• This process has faced challenges and yet hasexceptional successes which will be examined.
  6. 6. Public Finance Management• Another super national initiative that is supported by theBank, the PFM has been in operations for the past fiveyears in Sierra Leone.• It purpose is to improve public finance handling by creatinga transparent process in public procurements, contractcompletion, budget transparency et al• Laws were passed to ensure that this becomes agovernment practice in budget, audits, procurements et al.• A Civil society component was created also with fundingfrom the bank to push forward with it• Several portals, notice boards, public budget hearing havebeen held to make available information on issues of PFM• How the PFM has feared remained a secret. This section ofthe research will examine the successes and challenges ofthis process
  7. 7. Local Government Transparency• In 2004, the Local Government Act was passed.• Audaciously, it mandates that Local Authorities hold information forthe people• It further provides that citizens can request for any informationfrom local institutions and it is mandatory for the information to bemade available• Further, it mandates local institutions to publish information onnotice boards, websites and in Wards on basic issues such asinstitutional mandates, monthly income and expenditurestatements, rolls of property held by local council.• Have there been demand from the public to access data held bylocal councils?• Have these provision been adhered to by the local authorities?• If so, what impact has these provisions have on improvinggovernance at local level and enhanced service delivery?• If no, why not? This report will investigate the transparencyaspirations of the local government acts.
  8. 8. FOI• Sierra Leone has no FOI Law, but a bill that existfor the past ten years.• Advocacy has been ongoing for the past eightyears, yet there seem to be no political will topass the bill• Yet, the advocacy has impacted other laws tomake open data provisions.• How has these impacted the transparency andaccountability landscape? How will an FOI makethe difference in Sierra Leone.• Most importantly, what is the relationshipbetween FOI and open data will be the manyquestions that this section will investigate
  9. 9. Assumptions• This research is making certain assumptions:that there is a direct relationship betweenaccess to information and open data;• That the first steps of open data processes isthe legislative framework• With legislative framework in place,behavorial changes will be forced or evolved.• These assumptions will form the basis of bothqualitative and quantitative methodologiesthat will be explored in this research
  10. 10. Conclusion• The research will explored a vigorous deskreview and collection of raw data.• At the end of the research, recommendationswill be made on how to make the initiativesbetter and will show case the successes andchallenges that each has faced over the years.