This blog is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2017. On Saturday 4 March, groups from around the world organised over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. 44 events received additional support through the Open Knowledge International mini-grants scheme, funded by SPARC, the Open Contracting Program of Hivos, Article 19, Hewlett Foundation and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth OfficeThis event was supported through the mini-grants scheme under the Open contracting and tracking public money flows theme. 

The Open Data Initiative of the Democratic Republic of Congo joined the world to celebrate its first ever Open Data Day on 4th March in Kinshasa.

In a conference style, the event brought together more than 50 participants with varying backgrounds who are interested in open data and the impact it can have on the development of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The participants who came to the event included representatives from government, Parliamentarians, researchers from universities, students, entrepreneurs, innovators, etc.  

DRCongo Open Data initiative team welcome participants for the March 4th, 2017 Open data day in Kinshasa

The event centred on discussions on how open data can contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 in the DRC.

There was also discussions on how open data can contribute to enhancing transparency and accountability in the extractive industries in the DRC. For example, the discussion on open data and the extractive sector focused on the availability and state of data on revenue from mining, petroleum, etc. as well as the amount of tax extractive companies pay to the government and how the money is spent.

Participants at Open Data Day in democratic republic of Congo, March 4, 2017

The event was led by 15 speakers at various sessions of the conference who made visual and oral presentations on open data to help participants understand open data and how open data can contribute to the development of the DRC. Through questions and responses, participants have built skills and knowledge on open data. Several participants commented on the Open Data Day in the DRC:

The Open Data Day event helped me have a good understanding of open data and its significance to enhancing transparecy and accountability in different fields of activities, especially in the extractive sectors – Mr Mayambo; student, University of Kinshasa

The Open Data Initiative team received several recommendations from the participants and plans to call on the DRC government with those recommendations so as to promote open data in the country. Thanks to the grant from Hivos [facilitated by Open Knowledge International], the Open Data Day celebrated in the Democratic Republic of Congo was successful and helped to promote the importance of open data. Our analysis of the event has led us to conclude that many people in the country do not yet know about open data and its importance.

Therefore, we will work to strengthen the promotion of open data through strong marketing campaigns on TV, radio, newspapers, face-to-face campaigns, social media such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and improve our participation in major conferences on IT and data at national level, particularly in the provinces. The DRCongo Open Data Initiative has decided to organise the next Open Data Day on March 4, 2018, in Lubumbashi.

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Narcisse Mbunzama, based in Kinshasa, DRCongo serves as the Executive Director of DRCongo Open Data Initiative. He is the Swedish serial awards winning tech innovator and recipient of several IT innovation awards worldwide.