Open Data Kenya: Case study of the Underlying Drivers, Principle Objectives and Evolution of one of the first Open Data Initiatives in Africa
|Title||Open Data Kenya: Case study of the Underlying Drivers, Principle Objectives and Evolution of one of the first Open Data Initiatives in Africa|
|Year of Publication||2011|
|Authors||Rahemtulla H, Kaplan J, Gigler B-S, Cluster S, Kiess J, Brigham C|
In July 2011, Kenya become one of the first African countries and 22nd internationally to launch an Open Data initiative, making over 160 government datasets freely available through a publicly accessible online portal. The initiative is expected to support greater public transparency and accountability, fundamentally changing the nature of citizen-government interaction. The release of public data online creates a platform supporting the development of third-party applications, enabling a vehicle for expanded public outreach and engagement leading to “a more responsive and citizen-focused government” (Madera, 2009). This paper outlines underlying drivers, principal objectives and the evolution of the Kenya Open Data Initiative from inception to realisation. A comparative study of Kenya Open Data and related US and UK initiatives is included, highlighting implications for the applicability of a ‘default model’ in developing countries. This paper also provides preliminary insights into the platform’s access and usage patterns since the launch, as well as perceived present and future impact of this initiative in Kenya. Finally, it outlines the vision moving forward describing the principal barriers and supportive factors that must be addressed for the effective use of public sector information in Kenya. Adopting a mixed-mode research design, the study draws upon surveys, observational data and interviews conducted with key actors.