In September 2013, Edo State launched an open data portal, becoming the first state government in Nigeria and first sub-national government in Africa to do so. The Information and Communications Technology Agency (ICTA), was the government body driving the initiative. The Agency’s leadership viewed the portal as a vehicle for enabling greater transparency and accountability in the management of public resources. Led by a passionate, young staff in the Open Data Team and with the tagline “bringing governance to the people”, the portal held exciting potential for improving social outcomes.
But at launch, the portal did not have the resources to fully meet ICTA’s ambitions. The few dozen datasets released provided useful information but they weren’t accessible for the average citizen. A handful of featured applications showed the data’s potential, but they weren’t yet relevant for improving public services. Additionally, the Open Data Team’s counterparts in other government agencies did not have the same enthusiasm for sharing their data—both within government and with the public. Some were even suspicious of requests to do so.
Faced with this opposition, the World Bank engaged Reboot to help ICTA’s Open Data Team secure political support for its initiatives within government and to grow its capabilities for working with open data. Specifically, Reboot sought to boost the technical capacity of the team to deliver on its vision, while simultaneously working to achieve rapid enough results to increase the level of political support for the team’s work.