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Open Burkina selected to coordinate the African Francophone Open Data Community (CAFDO)

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Open Data for Development is pleased to announce that Open Burkina has been selected to coordinate CAFDO (Communauté d’Afrique Francophone pour les Données Ouvertes) and our regional hub for Open Data in Francophone Africa. Core funding for these activities will be provided by the International Development Research Centre and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, who have recently joined as OD4D donors.

Why create a new open data network in francophone Africa?

The establishment of a regional network was the outcome of the first African Francophone Conference on Open Data (CAFDO 2017). The Conference was held June 1 -3 2017 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso under the title “Open Data to achieve sustainable development goals.” With over 100 participants, 12 sessions and workshops, and a data camp, the CAFDO roadmap was developed with representatives from 22 countries in Africa and Europe, and a key need was identified for a Francophone leader with African Expertise.

Open Burkina will lead the new Open Data in Francophone Africa Hub
Open Burkina has been active in the field of open data and open government in Burkina Faso and francophone Africa since 2013. Open Burkina has supported data collection on open data in Francophone Africa, initiated the francophone Africa network of the Open Government Partnership, and have worked with a number of communities including Mozilla, Open Knowledge International (OKI), OpenStreetMap (OSM) and Humanitarian OSM Team (HOT).

Cheikh Mbacké, who served in the selection Committee, highlights that “Open Burkina has been a strong advocate and a leading voice of the Open Data movement in francophone Africa. It has achieved a lot with little resources and I have no doubt that, with support from OD4D, it will be able to bring together the different groups and contribute to the emergence of a strong regional network for the advancement of Open Data in francophone Africa”.

Nnenna Nwakanma, Senior Policy Manager at the Web Foundation, highlights “I am particularly happy that CAFDO will benefit from the enthusiasm, passion and open data networking capacities of Open Burkina. Open Burkina comes with a history of revolution, citizen engagement and Open Government. I am hopeful that with strong coordinating skills of Open Burkina, open data in francophone Africa will rise to the principles and practice of the International Open Data Charter.”

The selection committee was made up of regional and international open data stakeholders, including representatives from the World Bank, Open Knowledge, School of Data, AfroLeadership and the French Development Agency (AFD). In selecting Open Burkina, they outlined that their support for their grassroots approach that can effectively bring together governments and civil society stakeholders, and their experience delivering projects and involvement in a variety of open data initiatives. Based in Burkina Faso, they have a good track record of delivering positive change using open data, and we look forward to expanding their activities regionally to support the goals outlined at the CAFDO conference. Open Burkina’s proposal outlined some of the key opportunities and challenges for building stronger Open Data ecosystems in francophone Africa, and we feel that they have outlined an effective approach for engaging across the region.

The selection was competitive, with solid submissions from a number of organizations which will be important partners to consolidate the initiative. The CAFDO organizers would like to thank all of the organizations who applied for their support and interest.