Botswana has missed an opportunity to be counted among the first 20 countries for the launch of the African Development Bank (AfDB)’s Open Data Platforms electing to adopt a wait and see approach.
The AfDB has named eight countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) – the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Namibia, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe – that have shown willingness to participate in the initiative.
The ICT coordinator at the Ministry of Transport and Communications Mabua Mabua told The Telegraph that it would not be correct to assume that Botswana did not participate on account of sheer unwillingness.
“As a country, we need to have trust on those whom we share information with. Botswana opts to become secure before we open up to the rest of the world. We are not sitting idle. We have opened up to the world undersea cable for instance,” Mabua told TheTelegraph.
The country can still jump on board at the next opportunity. The AfDB plans to develop and install Open Data Platforms in all 54 countries over the next three to four months.
“There was no specific formula for choosing the first 20 countries, except for the fact that they were among the first to indicate their willingness to participate in this initiative,” Charles Lefumpa of the AfDB told The Telegraph this week.
“We have launched the first 20 countries. We are on course to cover all African countries by the self-imposed deadline of July 2013,” said Lefumpa.
According to the AfDB, the Open Data Platform initiative is a response by the bank aimed at increasing access to quality data necessary for managing and monitoring development results in African countries, including the Millennium Development Goals.
It responds to a number of important global and regional initiatives to scale up the availability of quality data on Africa and so foster evidence-based decision-making, public accountability and good governance the bank says.
According to the bank, once implemented, the Open Data Platform will be used by African countries for all data submission flows to the AfDB and possibly other international development partners, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), EU Commission, World Health Organization (WHO), UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), African Union Commission (AUC) and UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
The ban says the initiative presents a unique opportunity for African countries to take the lead in implementation and promotion of international statistical standards across all countries in the region and in enhancing the quality of the data disseminated by African countries.
“The initiative will also significantly revolutionize data management and dissemination in Africa, and reposition the continent for more effective participation in the global information economy” the AfDB says.