ICT Africa Headline News

Nigeria Begins Open Data Initiative

30 January, 2014
This Day

The Ministry of Communication Technology has kicked off the Open Data Development Initiative to support Federal Government's objective of driving innovation, investment and economic growth by enabling access to government data.

The Initiative is a consultative and inclusive process that will open up high value datasets from across government ministries to Nigerian citizens, businesses and the rest of the world, for free.

The commencement of this process makes Nigeria the world's first federal Open Data initiative to simultaneously launch inclusive and continuing consultations with both government and nongovernment communities on their Open Data priorities to develop the country's national Open Data implementation plan.

In a statement sent to THISDAY by the Special Assistant to the Communications Minister on Media, Mrs Efem Nkaga, the Nigeria Federal Open Data Initiative, supported by the World Bank and DFID aims to highlight the potential efficiency, innovations and public value that can be achieved when government uses technology to open its data . According to the statement, over 50 countries have launched federal-level Open Data initiatives.

The impact on economic growth can be transformative, an analysis by global consulting firm McKinsey indicates that Open Data generates more than $3 trillion of new economic value for the U.S. economy alone. Also the weather data of the US is worth $30b annually, while the total worth of Global Positioning System GPS data is worth $90b.

The Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson in her remarks said: "Data is becoming increasingly important in all aspects of our life. When analysed and presented in an intelligent format, data is essential to making informed decisions that produce value. The essence of publishing non-sensitive government data online is to deliver value-adding insights that benefit citizens"

" We would like to ensure that our Open Data initiative is driven by demand. We will be guided by the practical needs of Nigerians to ensure that Open Data fuels innovation and grows the Nigerian economy".

The launch of the Open Data Initiative heralded by an Open Data Stakeholder Engagement Workshop brought together more than 120 representatives from across MDAs, and the private and nonprofit sectors to identify priorities and actions to inform the implementation of the Nigeria Federal Open Data.

The Workshop is designed to explore the role of Open Data in organizational innovation; highlight the public value that can be created by opening government data, as well as challenges and mitigation strategies associated with these efforts, among others.

Initial stakeholder consultations commenced on January 23 with a kickoff meeting hosted by the Ministry of Communication Technology, which was attended by 63 representatives from across MDAs, followed by deeper brainstorming with individual MDAs.

This consultation process aims to initiate processes in which government talk openly and freely about their Open Data priorities, and detailed discussion of policies, management, technology and capability changes necessary to build an Open Data ecosystem in Nigeria.

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