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Penplusbytes, ACEP partner for greater transparency in Ghana’s oil and gas

BY: Jerry Sam

The International Institute of ICT Journalism, otherwise called Penplusbytes is partnering the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) to develop a digital platform to enable citizens participate in the oversight role of monitoring Ghana’s oil and gas sector.

The objective is to improve transparent governance systems through active participation of citizens and relevant stakeholders and thereby forestall the risk of mismanaging Ghana’s new oil find through fiscal accountability, contract transparency other regulatory frameworks as happened to her gold and other minerals.

The partnership, according to Penplusbytes, forms the online component of activities in the project “Improving Transparency in Ghana’s gas and oil sector” with technical support and funding from DFID.

President of Penplusbytes, Kwami Ahiabenu II said his organization’s rich experience in applying technology to enable citizens participate in the decision making process, backed by in-country experiences from Ghana, Uganda, Liberia, Tanzania, will ensure the development of an online platform that will take into consideration the needs of citizens. He also was sure of the development of a user-friendly application that will project the concerns of citizens while at the same time solicit feedback from duty bearers for greater advocacy.

“The online platform will be the tool to carry citizens along on the happenings in the governance of the oil sector. The project is expected to facilitate citizen’s participation in spending decisions through two-way interactive SMS messages, a mailing list, mobile apps, interactive voice response systems (IVR), and integrated with social media all geared toward meeting the citizens where they are and which platform they are comfortable to use to ensure greater participation.”

The Executive Director of ACEP, Mohammed Amin said “We are excited to work with Penplusbytes on this project, since they are a lead organization in developing tools and applications that promote citizen participation in governance and we believe their vast experience in deploying new digital technologies for citizen engagement combined with ACEP’s research and advocacy capabilities will help the project in achieving its ultimate objective of citizens’ participation. Penplusbytes is one key organisation which understands technology and governance to help us achieve project goals”.