The Federal Government on Thursday flagged-off an Open Data Development Initiative to support its objective of driving innovations, investments and economic growth by enabling access to government data.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Communication Technology which made this known explained that the initiative is a consultative and inclusive process that will open up high value data-sets from across government ministries to Nigerian citizens, businesses and the rest of the world, for free.
The commencement of this process, the statement added makes Nigeria the world’s first Federal Open Data initiative to simultaneously launch inclusive and continuing consultations with both government and non-government communities on their Open Data priorities to develop the country’s national Open Data implementation plan.
The state further read that: “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.
“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 $30 billion annually, while the total worth of Global Positioning System GPS data is worth $90b.
The Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson was quoted as stressing in her remarks during the flag-off that “Data is becoming increasingly important in all aspects of our life”.
According to her “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”.
She added that: “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 non-profit sectors to identify priorities and actions to inform the implementation of the Nigeria Federal Open Data.
The Workshop is also 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; discussing best practices and lessons learned in opening up government data from across regions, through the lens of the Nigerian context and enable data user communities (including MDAs, citizens, and businesses) to identify valuable data-sets that can drive innovation, investment and job creation.
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 talks openly and freely about its 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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