GovChat, a South African civic technology platform that helps governments engage with citizens, will officially be launched in Ghana on 12 December 2018. This comes after they reached an agreement to launch "GovChat Ghana" starting with the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan which is the largest city in Ghana's Western Region.

This follows implementation talks that were initiated at the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit in Tbilisi, Georgia.

"GovChat’s entry into Ghana creates a new milestone in its outreach to the African continent. GovChat has demystified civic engagement, by developing a citizen-friendly platform that is inclusive and enables direct connection to government services. Consistent with our mission to improve the connections between citizens and their governments, GovChat intends to contribute to the growth of Ghana as a long-term investor and business partner by working with government and local partners to ensure that affordable, reliable and convenient mobility options and income-generating opportunities," reads a statement from GovChat announcing their launch into Ghana.

Civic technology in Afrika

Most civic technology platforms, after much fanfare during their launch, fade away as they end up not being used by the very people and communities they aim to help. However, GovChat seems to have found a solution to this by making the platform and its services available on apps that people already are using.

GovChat has developed a WhatsApp bot which interacts with citizens and enables them to report issues, make enquiries, and rate services, among other features. It uses the recently launched WhatsApp for Business back-end technology by Praekelt Foundation.

"The Africanization of technologies used by Africas is is one of GovChat’s core strategic directions. In 2018 -2019, GovChat will continue to cultivate markets across the regions of the continent. We are confident a combination of world-class civic technology and deep local expertise will ensure deeper connections are forged between citizens and their government. GovChat also looks forward to strengthening our existing public-private partnerships to enhance engagement across our continental regions."


Cover image credit: Fish seller at Takordie market circle in Ghana. Wikimedia Commons