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Africa’s open data – all in one place

SmartGov Technologies Ltd.

Project type Innovation 

Support £40,000

“55% of countries have formal open data policies in place, but only 10% of 'open data' is truly accessible to the public.” — SmartGov Africa

54 out of 196

# of countries for which there is open data

1.2 million

Socio-economic points plotted

Start date
October 2014
End date
September 2015
Period: 12 months


Established data providers like the World Bank and OECD aggregate global data on national and international levels, delivering vital information and analysis by experts who can help assess large-scale change.

However, for local governments, cities or villages, trying to access and understand the data that affects them, it is difficult – if not impossible – to navigate massive data sets, complex and varying analyses, and a minefield of methodologies.

How can we make this data equally accessible and understandable for everybody?


Accessible data helps to support informed discussions on anything from sustainable town planning, to health issues in a local area. This project aggregates and visualises complex local socio-economic, demographic and political data and turns it into accessible, easy-to-understand information for citizens.

The platform brings millions of government datasets together and combines them with a powerful search engine. It allows any user to access and visualize public government datasets, irrespective of the source, language or format.



The SmartGov Africa project was launched in June 2015 by SmartGov Technologies Ltd, the Cambridge (UK) based data lab. SmartGov builds technologies to make government more efficient and easier to interact with.


  • We need to invest in quality data that can be analysed at international, national and community level.  If data is to be used to prompt discussion and to engage citizens with policy, then it must be up to date, accessible and relevant to citizens. Open data portals often contain data sets that are several years old and only touch on national or state-level issues, which may not be useful for many people. The SmartGov Africa platform brings together the latest data that is open to the public - but it cannot fill in the gaps where quality data simply does not exist.
  • Let people know that your tool exists and incentivize them to use it. This project was designed in response to calls for more centralised, accessible global data. However, changing people's behaviour patterns is difficult, especially changing where they go to for information, and projects need to be realistic about what budget and time needs be invested in branding and awareness raising. If people don't know your tool or they don't know what they can do with it, then they won't use it - it sounds obvious, but getting agreement on these types of budget expenditures is often difficult for NGOs.