David Lemayian is chief technologist at the continent’s largest network of open data and civic technology labs, Code for Africa (CfA). Recruiting and managing teams of software and hardware engineers in eight countries, David leads them to build the hidden “digital backbone” infrastructure that is changing the way citizens and civic watchdogs interact with governments and companies. David’s work is underwritten by a Knight International Fellowship, with the International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ).
Notable data liberation projects include the continent’s largest civic data repository, openAFRICA.net, as well as the continent’s largest collection of investigative evidence and leaked documents, sourceAFRICA.net. David has also helped the World Bank and Ministry of Treasury refine the software architecture of the open contracting e-Promis platform in Kenya, and built the GotToVote (GtV) toolkit that has been used in 8 countries to help citizens register to vote. Malawi authorities used GtV to unmask over 40,000 ghost voters, while Ghanian officials used it to help identify inconsistencies in their voters’ roll.
In addition to managing CfA’s engineering team, David leads the digital security lab for CfA’s African Network of Centres for Investigative Reporting (ANCIR). The lab helps newsrooms and investigative NGOs deploy digital tools such as afriLEAKS to safely communicate with whistleblowers, SHIELD to protect against cyber attacks, and OUTLINE to protect against snooping by intel agencies and organised crime.
ANCIR and CfA use the technologies built under David’s leadership to spearhead major transnational investigations, including the 1yr secret phase of the #PanamaPapers investigation into illicit finances and offshore proxy companies, and an ambitious investigation that tracked the Italian mafia’s assets across Africa.