Tunisia has unique experience in Open Data in Arab world (WB Country Manager for Tunisia )
24/01/2020 17:52, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP)- Tony Verheijen, World Bank (WB) Country Manager for Tunisia on Friday praised Tunisia's experience in opening up and exploiting public data, calling it "unique" in the Arab world.

"Relying on young developers and programmers to reuse and enhance public data is not a common practice in the countries of the region," he said, adding that this represents a "huge asset" for Tunisia that must be exploited to contribute to economic development and create employment opportunities for young people.

Speaking at the launch of the 1st national "Open Data" hackathon, which is taking place from January 24 to 26 in Hammamet, the WB official recalled that in several countries, the use of data has contributed to the development of companies and helped public institutions to improve the level of their services, particularly in the transport sector.

"It is thus possible, thanks to public data, to create mobile applications that facilitate the daily life of urban transport users, as is the case in several countries," explained the WB Country Manager for Tunisia.

According to Verheijen, public data can also serve the development of cultural tourism, stressing that Tunisia has a very rich heritage that "is not sufficiently valued".

It is therefore essential to encourage young people to develop innovative solutions tho promote the country's unknown tourist sites to the local population and potential tourists, he said.

According to Nizar Kharbech, Chief of Staff of the Minister of Civil Service, Modernisation of Administration and Public Policies, the adoption by Tunisian administrations of the open data policy remains "below expectations", despite the efforts made since 2012 in this area.

In this regard, he mentioned the commitment of his department to complete several projects aimed at strengthening this mechanism in Tunisia, such as the approval of the decree law relating to the opening of public data and the intensification of training sessions for managers of public structures.

The hackathon is part of the implementation of the 2nd commitment under the 3rd national action plan of partnership for an open government and relating to the establishment of the legal and organisational framework facilitating the opening of public data. It is also a project included in the Open Data action plan.

Organised by the Electronic Administration Unit in partnership with the WB, this hackathon entitled "OpenGovDataHack2020" aims to develop innovative digital solutions (web and mobile applications) based on the exploitation and reuse of public data in the transport, culture and health insurance sectors.

Some 39 teams, representing 173 participants, mainly young people among developers, data scientists, graphic designers, lawyers and other profiles from all regions of Tunisia, will be associated with representatives of the ministries concerned to take up this challenge in 48 hours chrono. Prizes will be awarded to the five winning teams of this hackathon.

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