The Botswana Innovation Hub, in conjunction with the e-Government Unit in the Office of the President, have agreed to conduct a diagnostic study to assess the capability of Botswana, inside and outside the government, to implement an Open Data program. The assessment will include an Action Plan, which will provide recommendations on utilizing Open Data to stimulate business innovation and new business creation, especially in the ICT and small business sectors. The study is to be conducted in partnership with the World Bank and the Partnership for Open Data.
Open Data initiatives release data that is useful to others and so is rapidly reused. Study of other initiatives has identified certain key datasets which are particularly suitable and valuable for reuse. Open Data requires government to make the non-sensitive data which it collects in the course of its operations available to others as much as possible. The data should be available in “raw”, machine-readable form for reuse for commercial or non-commercial purposes. Open Data is relatively new, but where other governments have already started to do this, there have been benefits in terms of economic growth, innovation and job creation.
Global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, Inc. which serves as an adviser to businesses, governments, and institutions around the world estimates that:
- Open Data could be worth US$ 3 trillion a year globally if fully used.
- The benefits of open geospatial data and GPS to US farmers are about US$19 billion a year.
- There are five Open Data companies worth more than US$ 1 billion, none older than 10 years old.
- There are 500 applications in London using transport Open Data alone, employing around 5000 people in development and support
- The number of US companies working on Open Data about health has risen from 45 in 2010 to over 2000 in 2014.
- In Africa Kenya and Tanzania already have commitments on Open Data, and Uganda is already working on it too.
The Open Data Readiness Assessment (ODRA) consists of a series of interviews with key stakeholders, including government officials and people outside government, covering eight main pillars of leadership, law, government institutions, management of data, demand for data, capabilities of business and civil society, finance and national IT infrastructure. It follows a standard methodology developed by the World Bank, adapted as necessary for the needs of Botswana. Based on these interviews and desk review of laws and other documents, the team will deliver an Action Plan with recommendations for consideration by the Botswana Innovation Hub and the e-Government Unit.
The Open Data Readiness Assessment team is led by Anat Lewin (ICT Policy Specialist, World Bank). The study’s lead author is Andrew Stott (Senior Open Data Consultant, World Bank). Other members of the team are Geoffrey Seleka (Director Marketing, Registration and ICT, Botswana Innovation Hub), Ephraim Kentse (Botswana e-Government Unit), Patel Barwabatsile (Botswana Innovation Hub), Emer Coleman and Liz Carolan (both of the Open Data Institute and the Partnership for Open Data).
The ODRA and Action Plan are funded by the World Bank’s Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building, the Government of Botswana, and the Partnership for Open Data.