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Nigeria launches Open Data initiative to stir innovation, investment and growth

Today, the Nigerian Ministry of Communication Technology announced the Open Data Development Initiative to help drive innovation, investment and economic growth by enabling access to government data.

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The Initiative will open up high value datasets from across government ministries to Nigerian citizens, businesses and the rest of the world, for free. The Open Data Development Initiative aims to highlight the potential efficiency, innovations and public value that can be achieved when government uses technology to open its data to the world.

The Minister of Communication Technology, Omobola Johnson stressed the issue of demand.

“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 prolific ICT minister also points out the value that data has in our lives today and its importance.

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.

In 2011, Nigerian startup BudgIT was launched with the aim to make the government’s budget allocation transparent and easily available to the general public. After encouraging much awareness and praise, the benefits of open data have been put under the spotlight, and the significance of encouraging healthy citizen-to-government dialogue by leveraging technology has been proven.

As supported and encouraged by the World Bank, open development initiatives such as this is about “making information and data freely available and searchable, encouraging feedback, information-sharing, and accountability.”

Today, more that 120 representatives ranging from government to private sectors were bought together to identify priorities and actions that would help inform the implementation of the Nigeria Federal Open Data.

While acting as a workshop, the main outcome of this gathering is to identify the values as well as challenges of this initiative. Parties are encouraged to identify valuable datasets that can drive innovation, investment and job creation in Nigeria.

Image via Wikipedia

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