Kenyans can now access more public data easily and faster. This follows the launch of a new version of the Kenya Open Data Portal (www.opendata.go.ke) as it turns four. The new portal includes a host of desirable changes in the number of data sets available, the visualization of the information and timely and interactive feedback to data consumers.
Through the portal, the government looks to maintain a comprehensive data transparency website that provides, a user friendly, one-stop access to data from government ministries agencies and counties. The data, constituting government development, demographic, statistical and expenditure information is available in a digital format for researchers, media, policy makers, ICT developers and the general public with a view to promoting transparency, innovation and improving efficiency.
Today, the website has grown to provide more than 680 data-sets from an initial of 200, in 2011 and hosts a variety of government data that include expenditure and resource allocations, education, health, energy, tourism, demographics studies and County Government specific data.
Some of the ways the portal has been used is by users around the world who have shown how local entrepreneurs use the data to make better decisions that improve their business process and profitability. As it expands and evolves over time, Kenya Open Data will spark innovation, improve efficiency, promote accountability and promote credibility in government projects among the public.
Besides the open data portal linking use of data to make better decisions and create solutions at individual, business and government level, the portal will also focus its growth on several strategies to greatly increase usability including;
- A budget app –that makes it easy for citizens, officials and other stakeholders to use and interact with budget data and therefore enhancing transparency in budget transaction.
- Data lens– a new tool to interact, explore and discover insights from data easily. It makes it easy for citizens and others to get answers to their questions in a visual, intuitive way.
- A fellows program where 8 fellows have been embedded in 3 government ministries and a county government to be able to help with data acquisition, information systems design and setting up of data desks. Already, 25 government agencies are sharing their data through the portal.
- Expanded partnerships with data producers and users with the aim of increasing utilization of the data through outreach initiatives
- Focus on Counties with County Data Makes data specific to counties easier to find and is in the process of rolling out County Data Portals that will help users find the data they need. Some will be full-fledged sites, like Machakos, Nairobi and Kiambu counties which are live now and with time will introduce the full list of counties with equally functional portals.
The portal was recently voted finalist in publishing open data in a global competition held by Bloomberg and the Open Data Institute in the United Kingdom. Kenya Open Data Portal was the second portal to be launched in Africa but is currently the leading open data platform in Africa and ranked among top 3 globally by Bloomberg for publishing public data.