19 December 2012

Kenya's Open Data Initiative has stalled, says Minister

In July 2011, Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki launched the Kenya Open Data Initiative to make government information freely and publically available through a single online portal. Now, according an article in the Daily Nation, Kenya's Information and Communications permanent secretary Dr. Bitange Ndemo is frustrated with the low amount of data that public institutions are supplying to the portal.

Dr. Ndemo was quoted as saying: "We are not getting data from organisations because they claim to own it, even those that have collected the data using taxpayers' money. We are working on a Cabinet memo that would legally oblige these ministries and government agencies to provide data [to the initiative]." [1]

According to the article, in 2011, the portal had about 200 data sets. By mid-2012, it had over 430. If public organizations cooperate in releasing data, the number is expected to significantly increase.

The fact that most of the information is not digitized also presents a problem. Priority has been given to digitizing records held by the judiciary, lands ministry, health and police records.

[1] Wokabi, C. "Kenya open data initiative has hit a dead end, says PS." The Daily Nation. 10 November 2012.