Following a two-month pilot phase, Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA) Chief Executive, Mohammed Ali Al Qaed announced the launch of the revamped Bahrain Open Data Portal (data.gov.bh), which was developed by global best practices and United Nations (UN) standards for open data.
In line with government objectives, the revamped portal underscores the iGA’s commitment to implementing the directives of His Excellency General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, the Minister of Interior and Chairman of the Ministerial Committee for Information and Communication Technology (MCICT). Al Qaed highlighted the essential role of official data and statistics in driving development and prosperity across key sectors in the Kingdom, as well as its importance in decision-making, policy formulation, strategies, research, studies, and more.
The revamped platform offers data classification and search capabilities through a user-friendly web interface and API. Users can effortlessly search, collect, filter, and interactively preview data through interactive viewers. This includes geographic data with interactive maps dedicated to Bahrain.
Notable features include the ability to track changes in datasets, enabling users to identify the most utilised data as well as new entries, and to update dates. There are also options for modifications and customization of features.
The platform also provides an API for immediate addition or linkage with external systems. This allows individuals and private organizations to seamlessly integrate their applications with the platform. Users can upload and store files on the platform without being limited to URLs, and they can download an unlimited amount of data as needed. The platform also offers features such as creating groups and adding new organizations without the need for programming. It provides user management and the ability to create new datasets, along with the creation of data visualizations, charts, and geographical maps. It also supports content in both Arabic and English and provides a dedicated space for displaying the latest news related to open data.
During its trial period, the portal provided access to 170 published government databases, contributed by 4 government entities. With the official launch of the platform, it currently boasts over 387 government-published databases, encompassing more than 2 million records from 34 government entities, including the iGA, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finance and National Economy, Ministry of Education, Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) and others. Users have downloaded the data approximately 23,000 times, with around 1 million total API calls for all published datasets.
Al Qaed said that the platform’s objective is to provide integrated government open data, enhancing transparency, encouraging electronic participation, and fostering creativity. It aims to empower decision-makers, investors, researchers, and citizens to access and benefit from up-to-date and comprehensive data. The platform ensures data availability without discrimination and presents information in a readable format, contributing to development and innovation.
The Central Informatics Organization (CIO), before merging with the eGovernment Authority, launched an open data platform in October 2013. The platform served as the basis for official statistics across all sectors in the Kingdom of Bahrain, making it the first Arab country in the Middle East to adopt this open approach to disseminating statistics and engaging with the public. The revamped portal, launched in 2023, aligns with the iGA’s efforts to support the government’s economic recovery goals and the Government Plan (2023-2026).