Kenya launches first Open Data initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya launches first Open Data initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya recently launched Sub-Saharan Africa’s first Open Data Initiative, and is one of a series of firsts for the East African country this year, which has included the launch of Africa’s first mobile apps lab back in June.

The Kenya Open Data Initiative (KODI) was launched at a high profile event in Nairobi yesterday, with Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki present as well as politicians, government officials and IT professionals. It was launched in partnership with organizations such as The World Bank, Ushahidi and the iHub.

The initiative aims to make core government development, demographic, statistical and expenditure data available in a useful digital format for anyone to access.

Currently there are over 160 datasets on the platform and already there have been some interesting applications of the datasets by a number of organizations.

Kenya-based blogger, White African, reported that the Ushahidi team has used some of the initiative’s census and healthcare data to map information on its newly launched Huduma site. Click on this graphical representation to see the mapped data.

And the team at Virtual Kenya has built an application that shows Kenyan MPs who refuse to pay taxes:

The data is being made available via the Socrata platform. As reported in The New York Times, Socrata calls the Kenyan initiative “one of the most comprehensive open data projects anywhere in the world”, noting that its goal is “to create enabling infrastructure that can accelerate human and economic development throughout communities in Kenya.”

The data is organized into various categories including education, energy, health, water and sanitation, population and poverty.

For more information, visit the Kenyan Open Data initiative online. And here’s the video of Kenya’s Open Data Initiative launch:

Note: An earlier version of this post credited Kenya as haven developed Africa’s first Open Data Initiative. (ODI) Kenya’s ODI is actually the first in Sub-Saharan Africa and not Africa as a whole. Morocco had previously launched one.

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