Kibaki Unveils the Kenya Open Data Portal as Techies Demand More
President Kibaki has today launched the Kenya Open Data portal. The portal which is hostel and runs on the Socrata’s cloud solution can either be accessed through www.opendata.go.ke or kenya.socrata.com. This is the first initiative by a government in Africa to release its formerly hard to get data to the public.
In his speech at the launch event, President Kibaki said “the website we are launching will for the first time make large quantities of Government data available to the public in a digital electronic format. This includes information ranging from the recent census to the Government budgets and expenditures, to schools and healthy facilities”
And with the call, the President proceeded to click the button and launch the site. Tweets and Facebook comments were coming through as the event was going on. PS Ndemo even acknowledged the role of social media in enhancing the event. There is nothing new in the data which you will get on the Open Data portal, only that after they were published, access to them was limited or simply exhaustive.
This is such a bold move by the government though the young developers, content creators and researchers are asking why Kenyan government could not host data within its borders. There are questions also on how the whole issue of open data and other important ICT Board initiatives are being handled.
So far it has been a preserve off either those who goes to disco with the Kenya ICT Board officials, friends of the CEO or former workmates at 3Mice getting all the government jobs through the Kenya ICT Board without proper tendering procedures. The Kenya ICT Board officials have been very sensitive to these questions with the officials either dismissing those putting the questions or using very petty methods to isolate them. . . . . . . . Don’t worry, we will continue to ask.
The published data available through the Socrata portal are from Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Kenya National Bureau of statistics. We only wish that it would be expanded to the Defence, Internal Security, Home Affairs and other sensitive government bodies which are corruption hot spots.
The president also commented on the need for lower rates of Broadband as many Kenyans have not enjoyed the benefit of having Fiber Optic cables links in the country.
What do you think about the Open Data idea and its implementation? Please leave your comments below.