Cross-posted from the Center for Open Data Enterprise.
As the first country in Central Asia to develop an e-government initiative, Kazakhstan has been a regional leader promoting open government and open data for the past several years. Today there are more than 3.7 million users registered on the “electronic government” portal (www.e-gov.kz) and on average Kazakhstani people receive nearly 40 million different electronic services a year. Open data is an integral part of the country’s open government policies around accessibility to citizens, transparency of public administration, and corruption control. The development of an open data platform was reflected in the “Information Kazakhstan – 2020″ State Program. With 200+ datasets published on their data portal in XML and JSON formats, the Kazakhstani Government is now looking to rapidly encourage and expand the use of their growing open data portal.
In April 2015, National Information Technologies JSC (NITEC), the national operator of information, held its inaugural “Open Data for Business Roundtable” which brought together over 60 representatives from the private sector to discuss their potential use of open data. This Roundtable was planned in response to an initial open data workshop with government officials, convened by the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs in February, where the officials requested a way to engage the private sector in identifying government data priorities. “Kazakhstan is on the verge of implementing a robust open data platform taking into account the views of the citizens and businesses throughout the country,” said Richard Kerby, Inter-Regional Adviser at UNDESA.
The Open Data for Business Roundtable, hosted by NITEC in collaboration with the Center for Open Data Enterprise, convened a wide variety of companies, from large and established state owned companies to small and medium sized businesses. These companies came from a dozen sectors including healthcare, education, real estate and construction, agriculture, telecommunication, oil and gas, publishing, finance, and IT. The Roundtable was a critical first step in creating ongoing government engagement with Kazakhstani companies to get feedback how open data can be made as useful and usable as possible for the private sector. Discussion topics included private sector priorities, barriers to data use, and opportunities and next steps.
The conversations held at the Roundtable resulted in specific recommendations to:
- conduct similar convenings with stakeholders on a regular basis to help prioritize data releases,
- host government agency seminars to raise awareness about opening their data, and
- plan a hackathon to generate new products and services based on open data.
Both government and non-government participants in the Roundtable repeatedly noted the need for increased awareness and public discussions to help shape the national open data program. The Center for Open Data Enterprise continues to work with NITEC to develop sector-specific open data roundtables to raise awareness about open data, and form strategic partnerships to increase business use of open data. See the full report here for the detailed findings and recommendations.