By: Mathias Amoah
Penplusbytes’ new media hub (www.penplusbytes.org/location) will be hosting a hackathon from the 24th to 25th October, 2014.
This is with the support of STAR-Ghana, and in partnership with the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) and the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NGRI).
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.