The first Africa Data Revolution Report focuses on mapping the data ecosystem in Africa

May 15, 2017

Data collection among rural women is still carried out using pen and paper. Shea butter producers queue up for a TechMousso session in Doropo, near Bouna, Côte d’Ivoire. Photo by Charly Kodjo

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the African Centre for Statistics at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the World Wide Web Foundation and the Open Data for Development Network have launched the Africa Data Revolution Report 2016, a biennial report highlighting developments in African national data ecosystems.

The 2016 edition is the inaugural Africa Data Revolution Report (ADRR) jointly published by the four partnering organizations. “The Africa Data Revolution Report builds on our commitment to support and strengthen regional and global networks, developing global benchmarking tools for country performance, and supporting rigorous research on the impact of data in people’s lives. We are proud to have worked with leading African partners on this landmark report which will be a key reference for future regional collaboration,” said Fernand Perini, Coordinator of the Open Data for Development Network and Senior Program Specialist at the International Development Research Centre.

The first ADRR focuses on mapping the data ecosystem in Africa with reference to the production, distribution and use of data by public, private and civil society actors, as they relate to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

It draws from in-depth case studies of national data ecosystems in 10 African countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland and Tanzania.

“We are very excited about the report because harnessing the on-going data revolution in Africa is crucial to accelerating sustainable development on our continent, among many other things.  There is definitely a need for us as Africa to boost the capacity of national data ecosystems fairly early in the implementation cycle of the sustainable development goals, that is why the ECA and its partners have produced this report and will continue to do so”, said African Centre for Statistics Director, Oliver Chinganya.

The report identifies and describes key data stakeholder communities, their capacities, interactions and ‘rules of the game’, the enabling environment, and the laws, regulations and principles that govern the production, dissemination and use of data in Africa.

Empirical evidence is mounting that data enables citizens to make more effective decisions in their daily lives, entrepreneurs to create new business opportunities, and institutions to make the governing process more efficient, responsive, inclusive and transparent, making data an enabler of development, going beyond just being a tool for monitoring and evaluation.

"Africa is the first region to produce a Data Consensus and a Data Revolution Report. But this is only the beginning. More than data, what people want are solutions to their problems -- and that means translating these reports into action. It's been an honour to support this first report, and the Web Foundation is looking forward to helping make this data revolution an open data revolution", said Web Foundation Senior Policy Manager Nnenna Nwakanma.

The ADRR assesses the infrastructure requirements and the nature and impacts of prevailing protocols governing data production on the continent, openness, analysis, privacy and ethics in Africa, focusing on open data systems, big data and innovations.

Based on the analysis of data ecosystems in Africa, the ADRR identifies challenges to the data revolution in the legal, legislative and policy frameworks or principles; financial investments; technology and infrastructure; and data governance areas.

“The Africa Data Revolution Report will enable us to strengthen open, inclusive and participatory national statistical systems with the contributions of all stakeholders, official and non-official, to improve the availability and use of data to help make the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063 a reality in African countries”, said Mansour Ndiaye, Team Leader for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development at UNDP’s Regional Service Center for Africa.

African countries are making considerable efforts to strengthen quality, accessibility and timeliness of data production and use by revitalizing national statistical systems, open data policies and platforms, greater generation and use of non-government generated data, especially citizen- and private sector-generated data.

To access the report please click here.

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