Transparency International Cameroon celebrates the 8th edition of the Open Data day with a focus on the Public Procurement sector.
Transparency International-Cameroon (TI-C) on Friday March 16 hosted an information and awareness raising workshop to celebrate the 8th edition of the International Open Data Day. Under the theme «Why should Cameroon use the Open Data Standards for Procurement to Combat Corruption in its Public Procurement System? » the workshop organized with the financial support of the Open Data Community, gathered representatives from the government, media, local councils, civil society organizations and technical and financial partners.
The workshop was a combination of presentations and interactive sessions. The participants had they knowledge increased through the following presentations:
- Corruption in the public procurement sector in Cameroon: Causes, Manifestations and consequences. An expert from Transparency International Cameroon provided the participants with facts and figures on corruption in the public procurement sector
- Understanding Open Contracting Data Standard. With the presence of an expert on open data issues, the participants were able to have a better comprehension of “open data”, “open Contracting”, and “open contracting data standard”. The expert went further in his presentation to demonstrate how OCDS can help promote transparency and integrity in the public procurement sector.
- Open Data and the fight against corruption: the nexus. In this presentation and taking into consideration the context of Cameroon, the expert from transparency International presented the advantages of “open data” and “OCDS” in contributing to the reduction of corruption in the procurement sector. He went further to demonstrate how open data can help mitigate some corruption risks.
In the context of Cameroon, the key questions was, how can civil society organizations promote OCDS. However while brainstorming on the question, participants realized that there are challenges to be addressed to facilitate the adoption of OCDS by government agencies. Among them we have:
- The absence of an information law: Cameroon does not yet have a law that could allow citizen to have access to information wherever they are and for whatever purpose. This has been identified as a major challenge in promoting OCDS
- Non-adherence to international initiatives on Open Data: The country has not joined some of the recent initiatives aiming at facilitating and promoting open data. For instance Cameroon is not a member of the “Open Government Partnership”.
- Weak technical expertise from government and Civil society organizations: Implementing open data or open contracting data required a specific skill which is lacking at the national level. Therefore there is need to strengthen the capacities of stakeholders before preparing them to the use of open data tools.
- Poor knowledge of open data concepts and tools by the final beneficiaries: Participants believed that data are very sensible and if not well used can become a weapon. Therefore the questions raised were: (i) are citizens prepare to receive some data? (ii) And are they equipped to analyze the data? To these questions, participants expressed the need to educate citizens on open data and to conduct a sort of open data comprehension index as well.
The event was broadcasted on a national TV station during the Evening news the same day, also, one of the journalist present during the workshop had two articles published in its newspaper (Le quotidian l’Economie).