Kenya joins the League of Nations, and spearheading the move towards transparency in governance through open data in Africa, by the launch of its open government data online platform.
The open data initiative exits in various nations across the world from Brazil in South America, to India in Asia, and to various American and European nations. Kenya is however the first African country to join in.
The Kenyan minister of information and communication revealed that the government is committed to realizing data continuously to keep the project growing. This will lead to the development of more local websites and web/mobile apps offering various data services to consumers home and abroad.
This is not just a lip service by the Kenyan government, as it has been giving grants to various organizations to aid in the development of various apps that are beneficial to citizens, but the lack of adequate data has slowed down this initiative. Now with the open data platform starting, things are bound to change rapidly.
The open data platform provides not only digital information for everyone who wants it, but also as well formatted output like CSV, XML, and others that can not only be accessed by individuals, but also remotely and automatically by applications. This has lead to the creation of numerous and awesome apps in various countries under the open data platform. Some of these apps include, location of government agencies, getting live updates of policies and government news, government job listings, and so many more.
Many developing countries are in a state where most of the national information are either in someone’s head, on a piece of paper on someone’s desk, starched in a disordered shelf, or at best, on someone’s computer. Until data can be made available in accurate and accessible form, there is no real democracy or openness in the government.
I can just imagine registering for exams on a mobile app, or getting results automatically via SMS, or through an app. How about BRT routes, traffic info, latest CBN policies and many more right on your mobile phone.
The main open data site also has links to various apps and software already written based on open data, as well as a developer section, offering tutorials on designing apps based on open data.
The question is whether Nigeria is ready for Open data, and if our ICT industry is ready to drive it.