The Federal Government in collaboration with the World Bank have commenced the Open Data Development Initiative, aimed at driving innovation, investment and economic growth by enabling access to government data. The initiative which is supported by World Bank and DFID also aims to highlight the potential efficiency, innovations and public value that could be achieved when government uses technology to open its data. This was contained in a statement signed on Wednesday by the Special Assistant, Media to the Minister of Communications Technology, Efem Nkanga . The statement quoted the Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson to have described the initiative as a consultative and inclusive process that would open up high value data sets from across government ministries to Nigerian citizens, businesses and the rest of the world, for free. The commencement of this process according to Johnson, makes Nigeria the world's first federal Open Data initiative to simultaneously launch inclusive and continue consultations with both government and non government communities on their open data priorities to develop the country's national open data implementation plan. She however said over 50 countries have launched federal-level Open Data initiatives. The impact on economic growth, the Minister added could be transformative, explaining that an analysis by global consulting firm, McKinsey, indicates that Open Data generates more than $3 trillion of new economic value for the United States economy alone. Also the weather data of the US is worth $30 billion annually, while the total worth of Global Positioning System GPS data is worth $90 billion . Johnson further said: "Data is becoming increasingly important in all aspects of our life. When analysed and presented in an intelligent format, data is essential to making informed decisions that produce value. The essence of publishing non-sensitive government data online is to deliver value-adding insights that benefit citizens. "We would like to ensure that our Open Data initiative is driven by demand. We will be guided by the practical needs of Nigerians to ensure that Open Data fuels innovation and grows the Nigerian economy." The launch of the Open Data Initiative heralded by an open data Stake holder engagement workshop brought together more than 120 representatives from across MDAs, the private and non-profit organisations to identify priorities and actions to inform the implementation of government data. The workshop was designed to explore the role of Open Data in organisational innovation; highlight the public value that could be created by opening government data, as well as challenges and mitigation strategies associated with the system.
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