Free digital access to laws in Africa empowering the public

May 5, 2017

The 27th annual World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa convened this week under the theme “Achieving Inclusive Growth”.

In addition to advancing the concept of inclusive growth, there are many other issues critical to Africa’s long-term development such as education, entrepreneurship, energy, technology and innovation.

The same may be said about free access to law, which is an aspect of the open data revolution that will play a crucial role in sustaining Africa’s growth and development.

The lack of free access to law in parts of the continent has often placed African citizens at a disadvantage, making government business less transparent and delaying economic development.

Resource constraints and histories of conflict have left significant gaps in the written law of many African nations.

“There’s a big difference between African countries when it comes to the ease of accessing legislation. I would indeed say that it is hard to access laws in Africa and the difficulties exist on different levels,” says Olivier Binyingo, director at Afriwise Consult.

Legal information institutes are emerging throughout the continent to remedy this issue by offering free and up-to-date access to legislation from several African countries despite the challenges that impede data availability.