The African Centre for Statistics at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has 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) published by the ECA in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Open Data for Development and the World Wide Web Foundation.
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” said African Centre for Statistics Director, Oliver Chinganya.
“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.”
The report identifies and describes key actors, communities and systems, 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.
The ADRR 2016 reviews seven key data communities in terms of their historical development, interaction with other data communities, strengths and limitations, and showcases data innovations in Africa.
“It will help readers to better understand the changing data landscape in Africa and the increasingly important role of various data communities and new technology,” said Mr. Chinganya.
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.
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.