5 Q’s for Nnenna Nwakanma, Africa Regional Coordinator for the World Wide Web Foundation

Alexander Kostura | Center for Data Innovation | September 26, 2016

The Center for Data Innovation spoke with Nnenna Nwakanma, Africa Regional Coordinator for the World Wide Web Foundation. Nwakanma discussed the growth of open data in Africa, as well as the importance of open source software in African countries.

Alex Kostura: You have been a proponent of the open data movement across Africa. How have you seen open data drive civic engagement in African countries?

Nnenna NwakanmaNnenna Nwakanma: The movement is still in its early days in our region. To drive citizen participation we need three things: governments to provide open data, intermediaries like civil society or the media to use this data, and citizens to feel empowered to use it to engage with government.

Right now, the community of civil society, media, and academia using open data is still growing in Africa. Governments are still not sharing enough open data. And while more and more freedom of information laws are being passed, citizen inquiries are not always responded to in practice. We don’t have clear open data champions.But I’m hopeful this will change because in spite of the challenges a number of excellent projects have shown us what’s possible. For example, the Africa Data ConsensusAfrica Open Data Conference, and the growing network of open street mapping across the continent.