NAIROBI, July 8, 2011—The Kenya government today launched an open data portal, releasing several large datasets, including the national census and statistics on government spending at national and county levels.
President Mwai Kibaki launched the Kenya open data, www.opendata.go.ke at a public event with over 2,000 participants.
Kenya’s open access is one of the first and largest government data portals in sub-Saharan Africa. It will provide data access on the web and through mobile phones to researchers, web and software developers, journalists, students, civil society and the general public.
The initiative is spearheaded by the Ministry of Information and Communications and managed by the Kenya ICT Board in partnership with the World Bank, Socrata and private web and content developers. Set on a flexible, user-friendly format, it allows users to view and compare information at country-wide and county levels. Users can also generate maps and other visualizations and directly download underlying data for their own uses.
With this launch, Kenya has become a leader among developing countries in the adoption of open data—a movement that is gathering momentum globally. The move got a major boost in the development community in April 2010 when the World Bank launched a new data access policy, providing free, open and easy access to statistics and indicators about development for all users through a new website: data.worldbank.org.
The partnership with the World Bank will ensure that visitors to the Kenyan portal will also be able to search for, select, download, manipulate, use, and redistribute data from the World Bank’s databases.
About the data
The Kenya Open Data portal features high-quality, high-impact data on:
- Government spending at national and county level
- Constituency Development Fund (CDF) budget allocation and project status per county
- National census illustrating demographic and development information
- Location of key infrastructure including health facilities, schools, water and electricity.
- Service availability at county level such health, education and water.
The data on the portal uses published Government data from several sources including the ministries of Finance, Planning, Local Government, Health and Education, and also the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. The portal also includes World Bank data.
What open data means for Kenyans
Web and mobile phone applications developed using the open data – some of which were showcased at the launch - will bring useful services to the citizens. These include mobile phone applications that will allow users to search and find government information directly from their mobile phones.
For the first time, Kenyans will have information about their community at their fingertips allowing them to make informed decisions at a personal level—like where to take their children to school or what health facility is closest to them. Citizens will be able to use the information to lobby their constituency representatives for better facilities and services based on statistics. Web and mobile phone applications will help citizens quickly and easily see the ratio of teachers to students in the schools in their constituency or the average distance to clean water or fuel.
By making statistics easily available, the open data portal promotes issue-based politics as opposed to personality-based politics. It will empower citizens to engage in the national debate about development and help them to hold a more transparent Government of Kenya even more accountable to its citizens.
Grant for development of web and mobile phone applications
The Ministry of Information and Communications will give grants to support the development of useful and relevant innovative high-impact web and mobile applications. Through the Kenya ICT Board, the Ministry will make a Call for Proposals for ideas on how to use government data. The Call for Proposals is open from July 8 – August 8, 2011; the best proposals will receive US$50,000 each (for companies) and US$10,000 (for teams and individuals). At least 30 grants will be awarded in 2011.
About Ministry of Information and Communications
Among its functions, the Ministry of Information and Communications is in charge of dissemination of public information. It is headed by the Minister Hon Samuel Phogisio, MP. www.information.go.ke
About Kenya ICT Board
HE President Mwai Kibaki established the Kenya ICT Board as a state corporation in February 2007. Its mission is to champion and actively enable Kenya to adopt and exploit ICT, through promotion of partnerships, investments and infrastructure growth for socio economic enrichment. It delivers its work through five pillar projects: Digital Inclusion, Public Sector Applications, Government Shared Services, Business Processes Outsourcing/IT Enabled Services and Local Digital Content. www.ict.go.ke
About World Bank
The World Bank is an international development finance and knowledge institution. It is a vital source of financial and technical assistance for developing countries around the world. The Bank’s engagement in Africa is based on a strategic use of partnerships, development knowledge and finance to support job creation and global competiveness; the emergence of economies more resilient to macro and idiosyncratic shocks; and the promotion of good governance through enhanced capacity of the public sector, social accountability and greater openness. The Bank’s new data access policy provides free, open and easy access to statistics and indicators about development for all users through a new website: data.worldbank.org.
Socrata is the leading developer and provider of Open Data Services, a category of cloud-based Web 2.0 solutions that enable federal, state, and local governments to dramatically improve the reach, usability and social utility of their public information assets. The Socrata Social Data Platform™ is a turnkey information delivery platform that reduces lifecycle management costs for government customers while boosting their ability to disseminate relevant information and data-driven services to a wide range of audiences including citizens, civic application developers, researchers, journalists and internal stakeholders. Socrata, founded in 2007, is based in the Pioneer Square district of Seattle, Washington. To learn more about Socrata, visit www.socrata.com.