Eighteen months ago we watched President Kibaki launch the Kenya Open Data Initiative (KODI) to broad acclaim and fanfare. All our initial expectations were very high. Some expected that Kenya’s vibrant ICT community would rapidly embrace open data, that there would be a rapid outpouring of open data sets from government agencies, and that open data would drive more informed development decision making.
However, although Kenya has a strong ICT sector, skilled development professionals, high cell phone penetration, a relatively open media and active CSOs, open data uptake has not been as rapid as some expected. Traffic to Kenya’s open data portal has been consistent, with the Government’s portal generating around 100,000 page views a month, mostly from Kenya. The number of datasets on the portal has doubled from the initial 200 to more than 400 today, but still represents a tiny fraction of the data in Kenya.
So even in a country like Kenya with a dynamic ICT sector, simply making data available is only one step in a longer process.