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Kenya to host International Open Data Conference in 2020

Kenya to host International Open Data Conference in 2020

The 6th International Open Data Conference (IODC) will be held in Africa for the first time, in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2020.

A statement released on behalf of the Vice President of Kenya confirmed the announcement made at the closing ceremony of the 5th IODC 2018, held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in September.

The IODC is defined as "a bi-annual premier gathering of champions of Open Data from Government, Civil Society, Academia, innovators among others; to share, learn and collaborate on policies, technologies, tactics, tools and platforms for making data more open, accessible, available and interoperable in support of development priorities."

The event, under the curatorship of the government of Spain, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the World Bank, and the Open Data for Development Network (OD4D) , was established to accelerate collaboration and increase the impact of open data activities globally.

Kenay's Deputy President William Ruto is on record as saying: "The President and I are committed to the creation of an inclusive data ecosystem involving the government, the private sector, academia, civil society, local communities, and development partners that tackles the information aspects of development decision-making. We recognise that if Kenya is to move ahead, we must deliberately pursue collaboration between the government, academia, and entrepreneurs. It is no longer an issue of political will, but a matter of rational economic and political choice."

According to government information, Kenya's administration co-founded the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD), energised the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) by co-hosting a summit with the Governments of the United States and the United Kingdom in New York, and convened a high level meeting on data for development in Africa with the Governments of Ghana and Sierra Leone.

It is also reported to have signed a land-mark agreement with the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and National Aeronautic Space Administration (NASA) to release 17 Years of satellite data to Kenya, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Senegal.

The theme of the 2020 IODC will be 'Bridging Data Communities', which stakeholders reportedly believe to be apt given the five year mark after the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement (PARIS21), as well as the 5th anniversary of the Africa Agenda 2063 and 25 years since the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA).

According to organisers over 50 tech international tech companies are expected to participate and exhibit at the event.

Dr. Korir Sing'Oei, Legal Advisor and Head of Policy, Office of the Deputy President in Kenya, said, "We are indeed humbled and honoured to be entrusted with the next International Open Data Conference, which will be a tremendous opportunity for the African Continent to showcase impact on how it has harnessed the power of data, technology and innovation, to respond to the age-old challenges of our populations. With this opportunity to host the next IODC in 2020, we are signaling Africa's readiness to play a leading role in bridging the different data communities to deliver the benefits of data to our economies and leave no one behind."

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