Nigeria has launched its Open Data Development Initiative, with the goal of driving innovation, investment and economic growth by enabling access to government data.
The initiative, according to the Ministry of Communication Technology, 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.
Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s minister of communication technology, noted the increasing importance of data in all aspects of 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, she said.
“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 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 non-government communities on their open data priorities to develop the country’s national open data implementation plan,” said Efem Nkanga, Special Advisor (Media) to the Minister of Communication Technology, in a statement.
Supported by the World Bank and DFID, the Nigeria Federal Open Data Initiative 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 US$3 trillion of new economic value for the US economy alone. Also the weather data of the US is worth US$30 billion annually, while the total worth of Global Positioning System (GPS) data is worth US$90 billion,” Nkanga said.