The Ministry of Communication Technology on Thursday commenced the Open Data Development Initiative to support the Federal Government’s objective of driving innovation, investment and economic growth by enabling access to its data.
The introduction of the open data initiative was heralded by a stakeholders’ engagement workshop, which brought together more than 120 representatives from across Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government as well as the private and non-profit sectors to identify priorities and actions to inform the implementation of the Nigeria Federal Open Data Initiative.
The initiative is a consultative and inclusive process that will open up high value datasets from across government ministries to the citizens, businesses and the rest of the world for free.
The Nigeria Federal Open Data Initiative, supported by the World Bank and the Department for International Development, aims to highlight the potential efficiency, innovations and public value that can be achieved when government uses technology to open its data.
Speaking at the workshop, the Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, said data availability could fuel the economic development of any nation.
She said, “Data is becoming increasingly important in all aspects of our lives. 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 will 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 impact on economic growth can be transformative. An analysis by the global consulting firm, McKinsey, indicates that open data generates more than $3tn of new economic value for the US economy alone. Also, the weather data of the US is worth $30bn annually, while the total worth of the Global Positioning System data is $90bn.”
Initial stakeholders’ consultation started on January 23 with a meeting hosted by the Ministry of Communication Technology, which was attended by 63 representatives from across MDAs, followed by deeper brainstorming with the individual MDAs.