FG to tap from $90bn Open Data resource

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The Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, says Nigeria is prepared to tap from the $90 billion dollar resource from Open Data Initiative.

The minister disclosed this at the inauguration of the world’s first Open Data Development Initiative in Abuja. She said the move was aimed at tapping from the huge economic benefits that accrue from the initiative, with a Global Positioning System, GPS, data worth $90 billion.

According to her, the step was also aimed at supporting Federal Government’s objective of driving innovation, investment and economic growth by enabling access to government data.

The initiative 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.

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.

So far, over 50 countries have launched federal-level Open Data initiatives.  The impact on economic growth has been 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 generates $30billion annually, while the total worth of Global Positioning System GPS data is worth $90billion.

The Nigeria Federal Open Data Initiative, supported by the World Bank and DFID is meant to highlight the potential efficiency, innovations and public value that can be achieved when government uses technology to open its data.

The minister stressed that Federal Government considers the partnership with World Bank on Open Data Initiative as a priority to promote economic growth and ensure value addition to the data in the government Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

She said that data has increasingly become important among government and private sector operators as it plays a pivotal role in major decision making and planning, and as such can’t be ignored.

‘’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”

‘’ 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,” she added. 

The launch of the Open Data Initiative was heralded by an Open Data stakeholder engagement workshop that 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 designed to explore the role of Open Data in organisational innovation; highlight the public value that can be created by opening government data, as well as challenges and mitigation strategies associated with these efforts.

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