One way traffic: The open data initiative project and the need for an effective demand side initiative in Ghana

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Publication date: Available online 10 August 2015Source:Government Information Quarterly
Author(s): Frank L.K. Ohemeng, Kwaku Ofosu-Adarkwa
In recent years the necessity for governments to develop new public values of openness and transparency, and thereby increase their citizenries’ sense of inclusiveness, and their trust in and confidence about their governments, has risen to the point of urgency. The decline of trust in governments, especially in developing countries, has been unprecedented and continuous. A new paradigm that signifies a shift to citizen-driven initiatives over and above state- and market-centric ones calls for innovative thinking that requires openness in government. The need for this new synergy notwithstanding, Open Government cannot be considered truly open unless it also enhances citizen participation and engagement. The Ghana Open Data Initiative (GODI) project strives to create an open data community that will enable government (supply side) and civil society in general (demand side) to exchange data and information. We argue that the GODI is too narrowly focused on the supply side of the project, and suggest that it should generate an even platform to improve interaction between government and citizens to ensure a balance in knowledge sharing with and among all constituencies.

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