Monday, October 20, 2014
Penplusbytes Hack4oil to Drive Innovations in Oil Revenue Management
With the support of STAR-Ghana, and in partnership with the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) and the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NGRI), Penplusbytes’ New Media Hub (www.penplusbytes.org/location) will be hosting a hackathon from the 24th to 25th October, 2014. The 2 – day hackathon which is themed “Hack4Oil”, will focus on developing solutions to stimulate better management of Ghana’s nascent oil and gas resources as ideas and technologies of participants will be elicited as part of a drive to garner innovative means of enhancing citizen engagement, government accountability and resource transparency. This has become even more crucial with Africa’s not so inspiring history of not making the most gains from extractives as resource – rich Nations have long been known to suffer what has come to be known as the “resource curse” with most experiencing increased poverty and conflict. For a country like Ghana, which is producing oil in commercial quantity, it is imperative that measures are put in place at every stage of the exploitation process to maximize the benefit thereof; picking lessons from the successes and failures of other states. The hackathon is, therefore, in direct response to a more general consensus by government, Civil Society, Journalists and citizens to take critical steps at ensuring widened opportunities for public participation in decision making with regards to the Oil and gas exploitation. There will be a list of tasks to be completed for each problem scope presented looking for instance at “The Oil Industry and its potential for Ghana”, “Which gaps exist for which technology can fill” among other industry-specific probes. According to Kwami Ahiabenu, II, President of Penplusbytes, “Penplusbytes is very excited about Hack4oil since it will contribute significantly to better management of Ghana’s oil and gas sector revenue and resources through new digital technologies which enable better oversight". The top three teams at hack4oil will receive prizes plus 2 months of mentoring; receiving the necessary resources to develop a full-scale product which will be deployed at a future date. The criteria for winning will be based on delivering solutions which are context-relevant, easily adaptable and responsive adequately to problem scope with innovative solutions and uses technology that leverages pre-existing infrastructure. ABOUT Penplusbytes is a leading organization in Africa working in 3 areas: governance and accountability, new media and innovations as well as oil, gas and mining. Africa Centre for Energy Policy- (ACEP) seeks to influence energy sector policies in Africa by providing professional analysis of energy policy, training, advisory services and policy advocacy for the efficient and transparent management of Africa’s energy resources. The Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) is a non-profit policy institute and grantmaking organization that promotes effective, transparent and accountable management of oil, gas and mineral resources for the public good. Through capacity building, technical assistance, research and advocacy, the NRGI help countries to realize the development benefits of their natural resource wealth. STAR-Ghana is a multi - donor pooled funding mechanism (Funded by DFID, DANIDA, EU and USAID) to increase the influence of civil society and Parliament in the governance of public goods and service delivery, with the ultimate goal of improving the accountability and responsiveness of Ghana’s government, traditional authorities and the private sector.