Open Data Barometer: how did Arab countries perform? (part 2)

The World Wide Web Foundation has released the 2015 edition of its Open Data Barometer – a report that aims to uncover the true prevalence and impact of government open data initiatives around the world. In the second part of this two-part blog post we take a closer look at the Arab region. We'll take a look at how it has been progressing on not just open data awareness, but also implementation and more concrete evidence of progress.

In part one of this blog post, we took a look at how Tunisia, UAE and Morocco have performed. This second post explores how the rest of the Arab countries listed on the barometer have performed – namely Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt, Qatar and Yemen.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has climbed several ranks with a present ranking of 59 compared to its 67th rank in 2013. Its ODB scale has significantly increased by 7.09 from 2013 to a present scale of 15.77. Despite its readiness scale of 38 and an implementation scale of 15, its impact scale is a surprising 0.

Saudi Arabia is labelled as part of the 'one-sided initiatives' cluster, civil society freedoms and capacity are very limited in this cluster, as is the breadth of data published by government.

Bahrain

Like Morocco, Bahrain has gone down the ranks from 54 in 2013 to 61 this year and an ODB scale of 15.38 today from 18.18 in 2013. Similar to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain enjoys a solid readiness scale of 43 and an implementation scale of 13, but an impact scale of 0.

As a result, Bahrain is one of the small number of countries clustered under 'one-sided initiatives'.

Jordan

Jordan holds a ranking of 61 but unlike Bahrain, this signifies progress since 2013.

From an ODB scale of 9.63 in 2013, Jordan's scale today at 15.49 has enabled an increase of two ranks in the past two years. Like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, Jordan's impact scale is 0 , despite a readiness of 40 and an implementation scale of 14.

Jordan is one of the countries to be listed as part of 'capacity constrained' countries who faces challenges in establishing open data initiatives as a result of limited government, civil society, or private sector capacity, limits on widespread affordable internet access, and weaknesses in digital data collection and management.

Egypt

Not included in 2013's Barometer, Egypt's scale in 2015 stands at 64 at ODB scale of 14.17. With a readiness scale of 27, and an implementation scale of 16 but an impact scale of 0.

Similar to Jordan, Egypt listed as part of 'capacity constrained' countries.

Qatar

Another 'one-sided initiatives' state, Qatar's ranks have gone down four ranks from 60 to a ranking of 64 in 2015, despite a slight increase in its ODB from 13.09 to 13.97. With its readiness scale of 46, an implementation scale of 9, Qatar's impact scale also stands at 0.

A broader framing of open data as associated with '[supporting] the ... National Development Strategy 2011-2016's call for Transparency, Efficiency and Participation of its people' was present in a March 2014 consultation on open data policy in Qatar, though the translation of this into the availability of key transparency, accountability and social policy datasets remains to be seen.

The Open Data Policy was released later in November 2014.

Yemen

Yemen has made a significant decrease in its rankings on the barometer, from a rank of 73 in 2013, today it stands at 82, despite a slight increase in its ODB rank from 4.69 in 2013 to 5.8 this year.

Considering its low readiness scale of 12, an implementation scale of 7 and relatively, a positive indicator with an impact scale of 3 should be taken note of. Yemen is one of the countries to be listed as part of 'capacity constrained' countries who faces challenges in establishing open data initiatives as a result of limited government, civil society, or private sector capacity, limits on widespread affordable internet access, and weaknesses in digital data collection and management.