Open and participatory governance for all
We <3 data: what about you?
Defending the right to read

Open Gov

“In all parts of the world, we see the promise of innovation to make government more open and accountable. And now, we must build on that progress”, once said US President Obama. Yet this movement must focus on social justice, not only on wealth creation.

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Open Data

There is a significant focus on the potential of Open Data for economic growth, public sector efficiency and social justice. Here is why open data matters for social justice and democratic accountability -- and how anyone can contribute to bring it to MENA.

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Open Knowledge

If you think that science, education, research and culture should be open and freely accessible for anyone, you are on the right place. We value traditional knowledge and defend the human right to access any type of commons. Do you, too?

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Data-driven innovation workshop, Cairo 2016. CC-by-SA 4.0

Data-Driven Innovation in MENA: The Way Forward

Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) office in Cairo is organising an exciting set of activities focused on data-driven innovation and digital entrepreneurship later in this month. Taking place between 18 and 23 February 2016 and hosted by Cairo University, the event is a part of the IDRC’s important project…
Open Data's Impact resource by the GovLab. Image from the GovLab

19 Studies on Open Data’s Impact Worldwide

Freshly released case studies seek to provide a more nuanced understanding of the processes and factors behind the use and impact of open data worldwide. Learn more and explore them at Open Data's Impact. Global commitments to and enthusiasm for open data are undoubtful. No matter which event you attend,…
Happy New Year from Open MENA! Join us and power open knowledge!

Happy New Year! Volunteer and Power Open MENA

We are in for 2016: Welcome and thanks. We have been busy doing research on the opportunities the data revolution provides for the MENA region and joining the freshly launched Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data to continue and extend work in that domain. We are also launching a call for…

Why Open Knowledge’s Global Open Data Index 2015 Is a Failure

The Open Knowledge’s Global Open Data Index 2015 has just been released; it covers 122 countries, which is 25 new ones from 2014. "Researchers and professionals interested in Open Data can still use the 2015 Index, but with caution. The only correct statement that I found is that “This year’s Index…
Wiki Love Monuments, CC-by-SA 3.0/GFDL

Wiki Loves Monuments — And Your Photos!

The Wikipedia photo contest around cultural heritage is open! Wiki Loves Monuments is a public photo competition around cultural heritage monuments, organised by Wikipedia/Wikimedia chapters and groups. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Participating countries to Wiki Loves Monuments 2015[/caption] This year again, different MENA countries participate: Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia along with four others…
Open Data and Wikidata. Image in the public domain (CC0)

A Quick Overview of Open Data in MENA

Bruce Haupt, data-for-innovation consultant based in Oman, decided to explore the state of Open Data in the MENA region. Bruce will also provide further insights on Oman and the Gulf region for Open MENA. Ahlan! 1. Does open data exist in the Middle East? Most assuredly it does. A quick…
Herbarium book. Image in the public domain.

When do books and photographs enter the public domain?

This is the second article of our short series examining intellectual property frameworks in the Middle East and North Africa. These laws permit or prohibit free, open and lawful sharing of information, data and creative works. In this second piece, we center on the copyright for books and photographs. You…

A Data Revolution in the Middle East and North Africa

The Middle East and North Africa countries trail in involvement with the data revolution. A recent workshop organised in Cairo  addressed how we can change that. [embed][/embed] In early June, Open MENA went to Cairo. The IDRC (International Development Research Centre) partners with the Access to Knowledge for Development program (A2K4D) at the American…

Saving the World’s Holy Places

A narrow interpretation of what’s sacred limits efforts to protect natural treasures. Because traditional cultures do not privately own land or keep written documentation of spiritual practices, it is difficult to legally prove the religious significance of their places of worship. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="785"] Bear Butte, sacred to 30 Indian…
Public domain logos.

Sharing is caring. Then why do so few know about the public domain?

This is the inaugural article of a short series examining intellectual property frameworks in the Middle East and North Africa. These laws permit or prohibit free, open and lawful sharing of information, data and creative works. In this first piece, we center on the public domain. According to most intellectual…

The place(s) to be: events curated for you by Open MENA

The coming months will be rich in events and opportunities to connect. We therefore decided to start curating an events list. The best choice for doing so is OpenAgenda: a schedule platform where all the data you submit is actually open data: OpenAgenda offers a complete tool, promotes an open…
CAPMAS website


This post is the first in a series on challenges for opening up data in Egypt by budding economist and data enthusiast Mohamed Hegazy. [caption id="attachment_738" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Screenshot of the new CAPMAS website, launched in May 2015.[/caption] Mention CAPMAS to most people and they won't have a clue what…
Image in the public domain.

Refugees Flows

The Middle East and North Africa region continues to face multiple and complex emergency situations on an unprecedented scale, that are likely to pose further overwhelming challenges in 2015. This region is also one of origin, destination and transit of refugees and migrants. Many of those caught up in mixed…
3D Budget Pie Chart by ( on Flickr, CC-by 2.0

Opening up Budgets in MENA

Government budgets are at the core of development. It is the government’s most powerful economic tool to meet the needs of its people, especially those who are poor and marginalized. Whether you are interested in health, education, the environment, or pensions, the most well-meaning public policy has little impact on…
The Hague Declaration, CC-by

A Declaration to Improve Knowledge Creation in the Digital Age

LIBER (the Association of European Research Libraries) brought global experts together to draft a collective statement on access to facts and ideas in the digital age. This is how the Hague Declaration on Knowledge Discovery in the Digital Age was released. In a nutshell, the Declaration calls for rehabilitating the…
Access to information compared across MENA states.

Are Open Government Partnership members more open than non-members?

A recent research attempted to assess whether Open Government Partnership (OGP) members perform better than non-members in terms of openness and accountability. Here we focus on the MENA states, and elaborate on the OGP relevance for the region. The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is an international platform launched in 2011,…
Image by Nepenthes (Own work), licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons

Commons Treasures: Sands as far as one can see

Today's image gets us to Rub' al-Khali (الربع الخالي‎), or Empty Quarter in English. This immensity of sands covers Saudi Arabia, Oman, the UAE and Yemen. There are amazing images from this place on Wikimedia Commons originating from the NASA, individuals and famous adventurers such as Wilfred Thesiger who crossed…
Visualisation under CC-by-NC-ND

On The Brink: MENA Youth Unemployment

The great people at Visualizing Impact (VI) have created this striking visualisation showcasing the amount of youth unemployment in the MENA region. VI explains: 7.4M youth across the Middle East and North Africa are unable to find a job. With the highest unemployment rate in the world, this is a generation…
Mwazna, Egypt's state budget explained. Screenshot of the website

Mwazna: Government budget explained

Mwazna ('budget' in Arabic) recently launched in both English and Arabic. Planned for and beautifully executed by Amr Sobhy and Tarek Amr, Mwazna aims to break down financial complexities so anyone can understand where their money goes. I asked Amr and Tarek to answer five questions to elaborate on the…
Sweet moroccan honey biscuits from Morocco. Image by La Chimère, CC-by-SA 4.0 on Wikimedia Commons

Commons Treasures: Sweets from Morocco

This Tuesday's commons treasure comes from Morocco, from the city of Marakech. These are all sweet honey biscuits from the souks. P. S. Do not forget to have a look at Open Knowledge Morocco's page. P. P. S. Check out our dedicated project: Commons Treasures. [caption id="attachment_408" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Sweet…