Pakistan (yes, Pakistan) is going open data

Headlines like this, “Planning Commission Moving towards Open Data for Transparency,” are becoming more common and that’s a good thing.

What’s sometimes unexpected, however, is discovering which country is behind the headline. This particular headline is from a post on the website of Pakistan’s Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform. It summarizes comments made by the Federal Minister for that branch, Ahsan Iqbal, regarding their 2015 agenda for public sector development projects, or PSDPs. Specifically, he is quoted as saying,

Public funds earmarked for development ought to be spent transparently to create highest value as we are answerable to the people of Pakistan.

How serious are or will the efforts be, which are connected to the country’s Vision 2025? I’m not in much of a position to judge and only just started researching this work in Pakistan. However, Minister Iqbal has a recently active Twitter account, @betterpakistan, and he tweeted his quote as well. (Check out the responses to the tweet, all still public despite not all being encouraging).

What I found most insightful was this tech-forward initiative going on now through mid-February, the National Mobile App Competition: Innovative Apps for Good Governance. Partners in the competition appear to include Microsoft and IBM among other international entities and corporations. They’ve got a Facebook page too.

Seeing such efforts encourage us about what’s possible, not only in Pakistan but surely here in Northeast Ohio.

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