Open standards for government transformation: Keynote Speech

Notes from the OASIS/World Bank workshop on “Open Standards for Government Transformation: Enabling Transparency, Security and Interoperability” in Washington.

Keynote speech:

e-Government in Ghana and the Adoption of Open Standards – Experiences, Challenges and Perspectives

Speaker: Dr. Sam Somuah, Director General, Ghana Information and Communications Directorate (GICTeD)

presenting efforts & eGovernment initiatives in Ghana

opportunity to create improvement in government – more convenient interactions with citizens;

it’s important to assure interoperability between government agencies

Ghana: 23m inhabitants, 75% literacy rate, per capita income: 661$, language: English

Ghana ICT4AD – transform Ghana to an information rich society by using ICTs;

Transforming eGovernment, stages: web presence -> construct -> interact -> transact -> transform

Currently in the second year of an 11 year plan, good collaboration with the World Bank

e-Ghana project: improve delivery of eGovernment services & leverage ICTs for economic growth & poverty reduction

e-Government Interoperability Framework (eGIF) – “A set of Policies, Technical Standards, as well as Guidelines covering ways to achieve interoperability among MDAs and other Government organizations”

How are open standards used?

  • All activities are highly formalized
  • There exists legislation to ensure compliance with standards

Why does Ghana want to go the direction to apply an international interoperbility framework?

  • increased efficience
  • more investments

All agencies, new projects, … have to comply to the standards

All the standards & guidelines conform to open standard principles


  • Internet & WWW standards
  • XML as standard
  • Browser as key interface
  • Adopt open standards supported by the market

Scope of e-GIF: all sectors, from G2G (government to government) to G2C (government to citizen)

Several working groups under the guidance of Ghana ICT Directorate (GICTeD)

It is important to assure to have good guidance

Issues that are adressed concerning technical standards:

  • e-services Access – standards for different hardware
  • Interconnectivity – standards for connecting systems
  • Security – standards for encryption
  • Business Areas – standards for business specific content
  • Discovery – standards for locating resources
  • Data Exchange & Integration – standards for metadata

At the country level there are a lot of beneftis of open standards – improving quality of contact to citizens, but also business impact

It is planned to implement a government portal


  • “ICT provides Ghana with opportunity to meet development Goals
  • The e-Government initiative on Interoperability will support improved service delivery to citizens; reducing the cost to government of delivering services and sharing information; and delivering greater economic efficiencies for the wider economy
  • Collaboration with bodies such as OASIS, W3C etc will facilitate GoG efforts”

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Open standards for government transformation: Keynote Speech
was published on 17.04.2009 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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