Open Data in Mauritius

Last Wednesday the Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation organized a workshop on the Open Data Readiness Assessment (ODRA) by the World Bank at the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre. A team of officers from the World Bank who assessed Mauritius in its Open Data readiness presented their findings.

A draft report has been submitted to the Ministry of Technology, Communication & Innovation. Unfortunately, that report requires Cabinet approval (as per current procedures & "culture") before it is made available to citizens.

On a positive note though, the World Bank officers gave clear indications what the report consists of and how Mauritius was assessed.

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The Chief Technical Officer of the Ministry of Technology, Communication & Innovation, Rajnish Hawabhay, mentioned that analysis of data will allow rightful citizens have their say. He said that the Freedom of Information Act will be a powerful tool at the hands of the citizens and promote transparency and accountability. I couldn't agree more on these words and I am sincerely waiting that the Freedom of Information Act becomes a reality in Mauritius and that citizens could harness its power.

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Anat Lewin, ICT Policy Special, World Bank, recapped the benefits of Open Data and the economic value it brings. She explained the difference between Freedom of Information and Open Data; while stating how the latter could add value to the data being released.

Roza Vasileva, ICT and Open Data Consultant, World Bank, presented the ODRA findings and mentioned that a three color ranking, red, yellow and green, is used to indicate the weak and strong areas. Mauritius did not score any red marks and there was a fair balance between yellow and green marked areas.

S. Moonesamy who attended the workshop as a representative of the Mauritius Internet Users sent a detailed report to the MIU mailing list. I recommend reading that for more details.

Alla Morrison, Program Officer, World Bank, presented recommendations for actions to implement Open Data in Mauritius. While emphasis is laid that the government adopts an "open by default" approach, users are also encouraged to communicate their needs.

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Data sets that are tagged as "quick wins" and could be released in an open format without much delay.

I thank the World Bank and its team for the effort put during the assessment and the collaboration of the Ministry of Technology, Communication & Innovation to pave way for Open Data in Mauritius. I will closely watch how all of these unfold in the days to come.


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