September 30th 2019, Abuja Nigeria. PolicyVault.Africa, the first online repository of government policies and regulations of African countries, emerged as the winner of the 2019 Africa Freedom Innovation Award Challenge organized by Friedrich Naumann Stiftung (FNF Africa). The Challenge includes a seed grant of 2.2 million Naira (5,500 Euros).
PolicyVault.Africa is an initiative led by Ridwan Sorunke and implemented by other public policy graduate students of the John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Other partners of the project include Timi Iwayemi from Nigeria, Hinjat Shamil from Ethiopia, Zarina Bentum from Ghana, and Christian Freymeyer from United States.
According to the Lead Partner of the PolicyVault.Africa, Ridwan Sorunke, PolicyVault.Africa was motivated by the absence of a platform to store policy documents in most African countries.
"During my study at Johns Hopkins and while working in the consulting sector, I, alongside colleagues, experienced difficulty accessing relevant policies and regulations in African countries. In some instances, these policies and regulations are only available in hard copies."
"With this project, we hope to build an online vault to provide access to these documents, drive transparency in government, increase public awareness, reduce bureaucracy bottlenecks, and support open government initiatives across Africa” said Ridwan.
PolicyVault.Africa and 9 other young innovators made the final stage of the 2019 Africa Freedom Innovation Challenge. On September 10, FNF Africa selected PolicyVault.Africa and two other projects as the winners of the 5,500 Euros grant.
Speaking on the grant award, PolicyVault.Africa partner, Timi Iwayemi, said that "the dream to strengthen civic awareness across the continent through easy access to government policy data has become a reality. This is a win for Africa because we want to improve access to policy information so that researchers, businesses, civil society organizations, and even the government can download verified and up-to-date policies. Our goal is to ensure that every civil society organization can keep track of the latest policies to improve advocacy"
Commenting on the progress of the project, Ridwan Sorunke mentioned that PolicyVault.Africa will be crucial as Africa pivots towards the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement. Companies will be able to conduct initial search on regulations in the countries they seek to invest. So far, we have compiled over 700 policies in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Rwanda. We are also building multi-sectoral and institutional partnerships to ensure that the project is inclusive and sustainable.
PolicyVault.Africa will be launched in Washington DC in October and in West Africa in November. For media inquiries on the project, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org