Nairobi will host the 6th International Open Data Conference (IODC) in 2020, marking the first time the event will have been hosted in Africa. The Announcement was made at the closing ceremony of the 5th IODC 2018 held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from September 27 – 28, 2018 under the theme “The Future is Open.” This year’s IODC was organized by the Government of Argentina, the World Bank, IDRC and OD4D with the support of Google, amongst others.
The International Open Data Conference (IODC) is 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 IODC exists to accelerate collaboration and increase the impact of open data activities globally, across different workstreams such as; Agriculture, health, education, gender and fiscal transparency. For the last 10 years, the Government of Spain, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the World Bank, and the Open Data for Development Network (OD4D) have been the curators of the Conference.
The Government of Kenya won the bid based on the consistency and high-level leadership of H.E the Deputy President, Hon. William Ruto, on Open Government and data for development over the last three years.
Setting the stage for this honor, the Deputy President has previously affirmed, “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 recognize 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.”
In response, the Office of the Deputy President has so far co-founded the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) with over 400 leading Data Companies and Governments, energized 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, convened a high level meeting on Data for Development in Africa with the Governments of Ghana and Sierra Leone and signed a land-mark agreement on with the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and National Aeronautic Space Administration (NASA), to release 17 Years of satellite data for free to 5 Africa Countries (Kenya, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Senegal).
Mr. Rudi Borrmann, Undersecretary for Public Innovation and Open Government, Argentina’s Ministry for Modernization noted that “This will be an excellent opportunity to share lessons learnt on hosting such an auspicious gathering with Kenya, but most importantly, a practical opportunity to strengthen the South-South Collaboration. We look forward to advising and working with the Government of Kenya in the successful hosting of IODC in 2020.”
The theme of the International Open Data Conference in 2020 will be “Bridging Data Communities” a vision that received a resounding endorsement by participants, noting the significance of the year 2020, that will mark, five years 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).
The 2020 conference is expected to bring over 3000 participants to Nairobi from over 100 countries. Additionally, over 50 tech international tech companies are expected to participate, exhibit and hopefully invest in Africa’s burgeoning innovation spaces.
Receiving the baton to host #IODC20, on behalf of Kenya, Dr. Korir Sing’Oei, Legal Advisor and Head of Policy, Office of the Deputy President, said that, “We are indeed humbled and honored 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.”