Burkina Faso’s revolution – an extreme case of open data and government transition
April 6, 2015 Editor
Literally translated Burkina Faso means “land of the upright people”. It has long been one of West Africa’s most stable countries, despite having one of world’s lowest GDPs and being surrounded by countries with serious security issues, like Mali and Nigeria. In October 2014 Burkina Faso found its way onto TV screens around the world – a 36 hour popular uprising forced long-term leader Blaise Compaore from office. An interim administration was appointed and elections are planned for 11th October 2015, the first for 30 years without Compaore’s candidacy.
One unexpected outcome of Burkina Faso’s revolution has been a strengthening of the country’s open data initiative. The interim administration, reflecting on some of the root causes of the revolution, is looking to transparency, as well as youth employment in ICT, as a stabilizing force (you can find the minutes of their last cabinet meeting online here). A small, dedicated government team built an alpha open data portal and pilot app the summer before the revolution, together with volunteers from civil society and some support from ODI and the World Bank, it was presented at the ODI Summit by the Director General Alfred Sawadogo.
In early March, World Bank colleagues and I visited Ouagadougou again, to work alongside government officials to support a strategic action plan for the next phase of Burkina Faso’s open data initiative, including a grant from the World Bank focused on climate change adaptation.
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Tags: burkina faso
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