Kenya is set to establish a regional Data Sharing Centre to accelerate generation, analysis, management and archival of scientific data to support its development plans. The Centre to be based at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology will be actualized in partnership with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA) and the United Nations.
ICT Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Fred. Matiang’i said the Centre will facilitate creation of people-centric, inclusive, open and development oriented information society where people can create, access, utilize and share information and knowledge.
“There is a clear demand for new data sets, manifested by the recent upsurge of request,” Matiang’i confirmed.
The Cabinet Secretary also infor
med the workshop the government will soon table a draft legislation on access to information and data protection to the National Assembly; a legislation that will guide collection and management of information in Kenya.
Matiang’i was speaking Wednesday August 6, at the United Nations Offices where he opened an international workshop on open data for science and sustainability in developing economies.
JKUAT Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga noted that while large data sets permeate various sectors of Kenya’s economy, the country is yet to draw useful insights from such data due to knowledge gaps and inadequate infrastructure.
“The Data Sharing Centre will therefore equip regional data scientists with requisite skills and competences to generate, analyze and manage scientific data, that our countries can then leverage on for socio-economic and political progress,” opined Prof. Imbuga.
While welcoming the move to establish a data sharing centre in Kenya, Dr. Mika Odido of UNESCO informed the workshop that the UN agency was keen to see Kenya transition into a knowledge economy that is driven by scientific research, technology and innovation.
Stagnated growth and development in many African nations has been partly attributed to lack of quality, relevant and complete data to inform and guide development plans and initiatives.
The UN hosted workshop was preceded by a two day training session on various aspects of open data at JKUAT. It brings together scholars and early career scientists from Africa, France, United Kingdom, United States of America, Russia, China and Japan.