#PAGOF: towards an open Francophone Africa

December 20, 2018

The first seminar of the Project in Support of Open Governments in French‑Speaking Africa was held on 22 and 23 November 2018 in Tunis. The event was attended by 180 representatives of governments and civil society organisations from 15 different countries.

This first edition focused on five open government topics, namely: facilitating the free circulation of ideas through the right of access to information; meeting the challenges of transparency and financial governance; the new frameworks of citizen participation; the promotion of open government, identifying its allies and bringing them on board; and using innovation to build capacity and mobilise ecosystems.

The aim of the seminar, organised around thematic workshops, was to promote and share good practice and successful experiences in open government at a regional level.

Spotlight on successful experiences and projects

The presentation of numerous practical tools and initiatives – such as Présimètre, the information access platform Informini, Etalab's Public Interest Entrepreneur programme, the social innovation hub El Space and financial data publication platforms – meant that participants left the event with knowledge that will help to facilitate the implementation of open government in their country's administrations and civil society.
In total, 14 diverse and different experiences were shared over the course of the two days!

#PAGOF – Feedback on the @presimetrebf initiative in Burkina Faso with the excellent @lutheryam74. The presimetre – a platform for tracking promises and fact-checking – helped Burkina Faso in its bid to join the OGP.

Thanks to the three “open government clinics", participants were able to work with peers in thinking about practical solutions to the obstacles and barriers faced in deploying and understanding certain aspects of open government and to benefit from the knowledge and experience of others.

New workshop on the second day of the #PAGOF seminar: “Introduction of a reference framework for @opengovpart", presented by @KBlb111 of @OCDE_fr

Creation of a dynamic and a knock-on effect

Ten non-OGP member states (Benin, Cameroon, Guinea, Mali, Chad, DRC, Togo, Niger, Madagascar and Mauritania) were present at the event and showed a genuine interest in open government over the course of the two days through their involvement and their interventions in the workshops. They were able to gain a better understanding of the principles that underpin open government.

For us, the Tunis seminar was a hugely energising event that will help us to overcome all the obstacles to OGP membership facing Guinea. #Kibaro #PAGOF #OpenGuinea

However, the main achievement of the seminar was to have brought together civil service and civil society actors who had never met before, despite all working towards strengthening open government in their countries.

I've been working on open government in civil society in Togo for three years now and the #PAGOF seminar in Tunis is the first time I'm getting to meet the civil servants responsible for open government within the Togolese government, so I'll be able to exchange views with them. For that reason alone the seminar is a success!"
Comlangan Souleyman Tobias
(Webjournalist - Togo)

The teams from CFI, Expertise France, Vraiment Vraiment and datactivist will now be producing a good practice guide “for more transparent and collaborative public policy in French-speaking countries<:b>".
The guide will compile the reflections, the experiences presented and a range of open government tools that might usefully be supplemented and replicated in French‑speaking African countries.

The second #PAGOF Seminar is scheduled to take place in 2019 in Abidjan!