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Open Data Readiness: Mauritius well positioned to start implementing

Date: October 29, 2015
Domain:ICT
Persona: Business; Citizen; Government; Non-Citizen
 

GIS – 29 October, 2015: Mauritius is well placed to implement an open data initiative and demonstrates strong top-level commitments to transparency and to innovation, reveals an Open Data Readiness Assessment (ODRA) conducted by the World Bank in June this year in the context of the Open Data programme for the country.
An Open Data Readiness validation workshop was held yesterday afternoon at the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre, in Bell Village, during which the ODRA findings were presented to stakeholders.  Organised by the Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation (MTCI), the event brought together stakeholders from several sectors to validate the World Bank’s assessment of the country’s situation on open data readiness.
 
The ODRA reveals that Mauritius is well poised to open up datasets.  Some 15 datasets spanning budget data, expenditure data, labour statistics, education and health statistics and many more are ready to be made available in machine readable format and so released as open data, that is, data that can be used, reused and redistributed freely.
 
Other main findings also show the following: there is a strong demand for open data from developers, private sector and researchers; and, Government could move quickly with an open data since it already publishes statistical data, but needs to conform to requirements of open data (terms of use and format).
 
In order to implement a sustainable program, the ODRA recommends the importance of a strong and sustained leadership across Government.  It also notes that the MTCI and Statistics Mauritius are well placed to lead change at operational level with the support from the Reforms Steering Council and Ministries.
 
The Open Data programme
 
It is recalled that Mauritius is moving forward with an Open Data programme conducted in partnership with the World Bank.  Hence, in June 2015, a World Bank field mission was in the country to assist in the evaluation of its situation on open data readiness and provide valuable inputs to help come up with the right strategy to exploit open data initiatives as is the case in large democracies like India and the USA.
 
In the context of the assessment, a series of focused meetings/interviews were held with key stakeholders including government, citizens and businesses.  Main themes addressed were: leadership, law, Government institutions, management of data, demand for data, capabilities of business, finance and national IT infrastructure.
 
Some benefits of open data include: transparency and accountability (civil society organisations and media will analyse the data and publish results feeding into policy); data exchange across government (obtaining datasets within government becomes easier); and data-informed policy making (policymakers base their decisions on applicable, relevant data).
 
Data has become the new oil in today’s world.  By going through open data, economies across the world from Europe, America, Asia to Africa, have witnessed a boost in economic growth.
 
Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: gis@govmu.org  Website:http://gis.govmu.org
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