About Code for Africa

Code for Africa
Code For Africa
Published in
3 min readDec 14, 2020

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Photo by Johnny Miller / africanDRONE.

Code for Africa (CfA) is the continent’s largest network of civic technology and data journalism labs, with teams in 20 countries. CfA builds digital democracy solutions that give citizens unfettered access to actionable information that empowers them to make informed decisions, and which strengthens civic engagement for improved public governance and accountability. This includes building infrastructure like the continent’s largest open data portals at openAFRICA and sourceAFRICA, as well as incubating initiatives as diverse as the africanDRONE network, the PesaCheck fact-checking initiative and the sensors.AFRICA air quality sensor network.

CfA also manages the African Network of Centres for Investigative Reporting (ANCIR), which gives the continent’s best muckraking newsrooms the best possible forensic data tools, digital security and whistleblower encryption to help improve their ability to tackle crooked politicians, organised crime and predatory big business. CfA also runs academy.AFRICA, one of the continent’s largest skills development initiatives for digital journalists, and seed funds cross-border collaboration.

CfA is non-partisan and does not support or oppose any political party or candidate. We do not undertake any advocacy work either for ourselves or on behalf of others.

CfA is registered as a non-profit organisation in South Africa, registration number 168–092, and in Kenya with registration number CPR/2016/220101.

Partnering for excellence

Collaboration is at the heart of what CfA does. To build digital democracies the organisation partners with parties aligned with CfA’s values and works as a catalyst that kickstarts new initiatives and strengthens the local ecosystem by investing in and working through these partnerships.

Guiding Principles

CfA shares a covenant with the rest of the Code for All federation, based on the following guiding principles:

  1. We show what’s possible. CfA seeks to be a catalyst by lowering the political risk of experimentation through creating successful proofs of concept for liberating civic data, for building enabling technologies and for pioneering sustainable revenue models. The organisation also endeavours to lower the financial costs for technology experimentation by creating and managing ‘shared’ backbone civic technology, and availing resources for rapid innovation.
  2. We empower citizens. Empowering citizens is central to CfA’s theory of change. Strong democracies rely on engaged citizens who have actionable information and easy-to-use channels for making their will known. CfA works primarily with citizen organisations and civic watchdogs, including the media and also support government and social enterprises in developing their capacity to respond meaningfully to citizens and to collaborate effectively with them.
  3. We are action-orientated. African societies are asymmetric: the balance of power rests with governments and corporate institutions, at the expense of citizens who are treated as passive recipients of consultation or services. CfA seeks to change this by focusing on actionable data and action-orientated tools that give agency to citizens.
  4. We operate in public. CfA promotes openness in our operations and in the work of our partners. All digital tools utilised are open source, and the organisation’s information is open data. CfA actively encourages documentation, sharing and collaboration, in addition to reuse of our own tools, programmes and processes, as well as those of partners.
  5. We help build ecosystems. CfA actively marshals resources to support the growth of a pan-African ecosystem of civic technologists. Whenever possible, this means reusing existing tools, standards and platforms, encouraging integration and extension. CfA operates as a pan-African federation of organisations who are active members of a global community, leveraging each other’s knowledge and resources.

Document updated on 11 February 2021

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Code for Africa
Code For Africa

Africa's largest network of #CivicTech and #OpenData labs. Projects include #impactAFRICA, #openAFRICA, #PesaCheck, #sensorsAfrica and #sourceAFRICA.