Accepted paper:

African National Archives and Open Government Policy

Author:

James Lowry (University of Liverpool)

Paper short abstract:

A number of African countries made commitments to archival development in their Open Government Partnership action plans. How far has that work progressed and what are the current and historical impediments to archival work in those countries?

Paper long abstract:

A number of African countries made commitments to archival development in their Open Government Partnership action plans. These commitment recognised the link between records and archives as evidence, and the accountability necessary for open government. They focus on revising archival legislation, building technical capacity, standardising records management systems, and preparing for digital preservation. This paper will present an assessment of how far work on the commitments has progressed, and explore the impediments. It will show that many of the issues faced by African national archives have roots in the colonial period and have been compounded by years of neglect of archives, archival infrastructure and archival work. The paper posits that aspirations to openness will not be realised until archival thinking is brought into policy work, system design and civic culture.

panel Pol20
Archives, governance and policy-making on the African continent