Drawing from the lessons of the MDGs, the SDG process recognized at the beginning that to achieve real sustainable development, we must “leave no one behind”. This was articulated by the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons in their report (HLP Report), which also emphasized the importance of transparency and accountability in the process. The report also envisaged a new partnership involving governments, civil society organizations, development partners and, most importantly, citizens. All these aspects of what became the Sustainable Development Goals require that all the actors, stakeholders and beneficiaries have access to relevant information in order for them to play their respective roles in the development process, including implementation, monitoring and reporting on progress. The scope of the SDGs therefore requires more data on a broad range of topics than we have ever dealt with, disaggregated by gender, geography, and other social and economic classes. It is with this backdrop that the HLP report called for actions to "improve quality of statistics and information available to people and government" in <A New Global Partnership> and the General Assembly agreed to intensify efforts to strengthen statistical capacity in developing countries in <Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development>.
This global call for data revolution has been echoed around the world since the publication of HLP report and much discussion has been done around how to implement it. In Africa, the High Level Conference (HLC) on Data Revolution was held in Addis Ababa, March 2015, during the Eighth Joint Annual Meetings of the Africa Union Commission and Economic Commission for Africa. Based on the outcome of HLC, the Ministers resolved, among others, “to lead the African data revolution, bringing together diverse data communities and using a wide range of data sources, tools and innovative technologies …” (Resolution 923 [XLVII], 2). In the subsequent Ninth Joint Annual Meeting, the Ministers requested that the integrated reporting and follow-up on sustainable development be supported with “information on the status of the data system on the continent”.
In the view of these developments, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) proposed to publish a biennial "Africa Data Revolution Report", which will report on the status of the data ecosystem in African countries, focusing on thematic areas. The Africa Data Revolution Report 2016 (henceforth “Report”) is envisioned to provide a thorough review on the data ecosystem in the continent based on in-depth country assessments. The publication will feed SDG, Agenda 2063 and other initiatives and studies by providing a concrete analysis of data issues in the continent and provide the information on the data system status in Africa as requested by the Ministers.
Highlighting developments in African data ecosystems
Africa Data Revolution Report 2016