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Jamaica Receives Favourable Open Data Assessment Report

The Government of Jamaica has received a favourable report from the World Bank on the country’s Open Data Readiness. Open Data  is data, usually generated by the Government, that can be freely used, reused and redistributed without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms. 
The Readiness report (which considers the supply and the reuse of data, skills development, targeted innovation and financing for the government’s Open Data agenda) shows there is visible leadership within the Government, as well as broad public and private sector support, for Open Data in Jamaica.  
State Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson has welcomed the Report noting, that “this is a clear indication that there are some things that the Government is doing right in creating access to data. We must now move quickly to address all the areas of measurement in order to ensure that Jamaica can benefit from an Open Data initiative.”Minister Robinson observed that the next steps will include: 

  • Developing an Open Data policy 
  • Establishment of an Open Data Committee, and  
  • Commencement of the legal due diligence 

According to the World Bank, Jamaica has many of the essential requisites needed to support a successful Open Data programme, as well as the region’s most vibrant community of people who could use open data. The Report also noted that vast amounts of information are already available on many Government websites and within the various public entities. These can be converted to open data formats. 
By making data widely available, Open Data allows for increased: 

  • Economic value - Giving rise to new businesses and helping established companies define new products and services. Studies performed by CAPRI show that the potential benefits to Jamaica are up to $15billion across 3 sectors (Tourism, Agriculture and Education) 
  • Transparency / accountability 
  • Data exchange across government 
  • Data-informed policy making

The World Bank conducted the Open Data Readiness assessment in Jamaica during the week of December 8-12, 2014. 

Jamaica is the third country in the Caribbean to take part in an Open Data Readiness Assessment and the second to include an Open Budget Data Readiness Assessment, as part of the World Bank’s program of assistance to the Caribbean region, with the partnership and support of the UK Department of International Development.