Open data is data that can be freely used, re-used and redistributed by anyone – subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and sharealike. Through it we can improve how we access healthcare services, discover cures for diseases more efficiently, understand our governments better and, of course, travel to places more easily.
When big companies or governments release non-personal data, it enables small businesses, citizens and medical researchers to develop resources which make crucial improvements to their communities.
This is why the nation of Rwanda is affirmed yet once again as the Africa’s continental spearhead when it comes to open data. Consecutively, the East African state has made to defend its position in the Web Foundation’s comprehensive study of open data initiatives.
No wonder why the country’s economy is quite improving, lifting the small businesses and strengthening the established ones. With the open data access, vital information on how to improve businesses and resources in a large spectrum plays such a significant role in the society.
Rwanda in both 2015 and 2016, Rwanda was the highest scoring low-income country included in the index. Rwanda was also the African regional leader in both overall and openness, with 2016 scores of 55 and 68.
Experts says that even with limited resources, Rwanda dramatically increased the openness of its data, largely due to the creation of an open data portal that is integrated with the country’s national statistics office.
Rwanda’s data portal is the fourth of its kind to be launched in East Africa, with Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda also having launched portals.
Although Rwanda’s coverage is comparable to other Eastern African countries with similar portals, Rwanda has managed to lead the region by including much of its official data within the portal, adopting a fully open terms of-use policy, and publishing indicator specific metadata with many data sets.
National statistics, location data, election results and companies data are some of the key datasets available for businesses and citizens to use and reuse to generate new opportunities in Rwanda.
Governments across Africa are increasingly recognising the benefits that embracing open data and open innovation can bring. Many African countries have open data initiatives while the latest Open Data Barometer (OBD) research shows improvements in government transparency and accountability.
Jean Philbert Nsengimana, the minister for youth and ICT describes open data “a precious national resource and a strategic asset of the Government of Rwanda.
Nsengimana also said that open data policy is designed to address the demand side.
Rwanda was followed by South Africa at 52, Cameroon at 39, and Tunisia at 45.
Open data is information which can be freely used, reused and shared by anyone, anywhere, for any purpose, according to opendefinition.org.
Sweden topped the Index.
The report found that African countries – while demonstrating improvements in supply-side areas – continue to struggle to achieve impact on citizens’ lives through open data initiatives.
High-income countries, dominated by the long established statistical systems in Western and Northern Europe and North America, recorded the highest ODIN scores. However, within regions, the richest countries are not always the best performers.