This regional snapshot covers the 25 Sub-Saharan African countries assessed in the fourth edition of the Barometer. Four new countries have been added since the third edition of the Barometer: Cote d’Ivoire, DR Congo, Swaziland and Togo.
General regional highlights and findings
Africa lags behind other regions in the implementation and impact of open data. No sub-Saharan African country is in the top 30. Only one country, Kenya, ranks in the top 40, while there are seven countries in the bottom ten.
Kenya climbed seven places and remains the regional champion, ranking 35th globally. Ghana jumped 11 places , yet it is still recovering from a big drop in the previous edition. Other countries such as Tanzania or Burkina Faso have also improved, especially in implementation.
Open Data Barometer 4th edition - Regional ranking
How’s the region performing against the rest of the world?
Some countries such as Tanzania, Kenya and Burkina Faso improved on open data initiatives, policies, civil society engagement and support for innovation.
In other countries such as Nigeria, Mozambique and Mauritius, three main areas are stagnating: funding for open data initiatives to ensure sustainability, proper data management and right to information reforms.
Rwanda and DR Congo each have one fully open dataset. Significant improvements have been made by Ghana, Tanzania and Burkina Faso.
Even regional champions still score low on openness of datasets, with all countries lacking fully open data. Nigeria’s health and education datasets are no longer fully open.
Most countries are improving in political impact, demonstrated by projects such as the Municipal Money budget initiative on fiscal transparency in South Africa.
The majority of countries show little to no impact in other areas such as inclusion or economy.
Nigeria is well positioned to be an open data leader in Africa. Yet it appears to be sliding backward given that its education and health data is no longer fully open due to a lack of open licenses. However, the country has begun to see a few strong, civil society-led initiatives emerge. These include Your BudgIT, created on the principle that every citizen should have access to and understand public budgets. In addition, Tracka, a tool used to collaborate, track and give feedback on government projects, helps to disseminate budget and expenditure-related data published by government.
One study in Kenya looked at the impact of open data within grassroots communities, focussing on the delivery of services related to health, water and education. The findings revealed that the low quality of available data limits its use. Another example is the Hunger Safety Net Program that has designed a fully interactive dashboard to display information on cash transfers to support vulnerable and poor people in Kenya. The initiative has the potential to improve inter-agency data sharing, leading to greater efficiency.
Tanzania has increased its scores for civil society engagement (+5) and support for innovation (+3). It has also improved in accountability impact (+2) and economic impact (+1). The country's Big Results Now (BRN) programme that includes its Open Data Portal, provides three open data dashboards on water, health and education. The combination of the BRN programme and the uptick in available data on the National Bureau of Statistics website shows Tanzania’s progress in collecting and disseminating government data.