ODI Podcast: Open elections in Burkina Faso

In the first ODI Podcast, ODI Editor Anna Scott speaks with Malick Tapsoba of the Burkina Faso Open Data Initiative on transparency, how his team used open data to support democracy and lessons for other governments aspiring for open elections

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Malick Tapsoba, Deputy Manager of the Burkina Faso Open Data Initiative, and Anna Scott, ODI Writer / Editor. CC BY 2.0, uploaded by The ODI.

With today’s release of the 2015 Open Data Barometer, governments around the world are reflecting on how well they utilise open data. While the world leaders have largely held their positions, they are being challenged by a new generation of open data adopters.

Open data commitments and initiatives are spreading fast, and the majority of countries now have an open data initiative. Burkina Faso is one country that is gaining global recognition for its open data initiative. Launched in June 2014, the Burkina Faso Open Data Initiative (BODI) aimed to drive economic growth, boost innovation and demonstrate transparency, with support from the ODI and the Partnership for Open Data.

Open data has been integral to transparency in Burkina Faso. In this interview, Malick talks about the challenges that came with promoting an ‘e-cabinet’ in Burkina Faso – from reassuring colleagues weary of ministers ‘wasting time on the internet’, to overcoming technical obstacles.

Malick also reflects on positive uses and impacts of open data in his country, and how he helped persuade the Electoral Commission and the President to embrace open data in enabling Burkina’s freest and fairest elections in almost 30 years.

The European Commission called the transition in Burkina Faso “remarkable” and the peaceful elections “a victory for Burkina Faso, but also good news for the region and the continent”.

This podcast was recorded while Malick was at ODI HQ in London to attend the Open Data Leaders Network, a programme for open data leaders from around the world to get together to share knowledge and ideas, discuss common challenges and, ultimately, learn from one another.


This podcast was presented by Anna Scott and produced by Freya Hellier and Phil Lang.

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