Heralding the birth of data by and for Africa

Addis Ababa, 29 March 2015 (AUC-ECA) - African governments should acknowledge open data provided by recognised communities as sources that complement the work of national statistics offices for better decision making, service delivery and citizen engagement, concluded a group of data activists today in the Ethiopian capital.

In the context of this year’s AUC-ECA Conference of Ministers, stakeholders in various data communities brainstormed on what a data revolution would mean for the continent and penned down a proposed Africa Data Consensus, intended to support the continent adopt evidence-based inclusive development policies.

Key among the proposed action points for Africa’s data revolution are: the development of effective civil registration systems and the recognition of the roles of various stakeholders in the data ‘ecosystem’ in order to create a practical road map for inclusive data generation and use.

During the High Level Conference that produced the Consensus, ECA’s Executive Secretary, Mr Carlos Lopes said efforts should be made to quickly scale up the work of data producers in a way that is useful for strategic policy-making as well as for an appropriate narrative for Africa.  “The real data revolution is how we make sure that our statistical data is modernised, more accurate, that we share experiences amongst ourselves to make this network extremely powerful and have some focus especially with regards to the two pillars of national accounts and demographic statistics,” he posited.

But this cannot be done without investing in modern data collection technologies and providing techy-savvy youths the space to generate, analyse and use data, said Mr Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA.

“Young people must be at the heart of the data revolution.

And building on the power of our young people, tapping their knowledge, creativity, energy, innovation, we can only build a future that we all want for ourselves in Africa,” he underscored.

To Dr. René N’Guettia Kouassi, Director of Economic Affairs at AUC, a “data revolution is indispensable for Africa as it brings about the production of quality statistics that focuses on the human person and helps to edify African governments as well as the people of Africa, in their decision-making processes.”

Other high level panelists that graced the data revolution event included Mr Trevor Manuel, Deputy Chairperson of the South African branch of the Rothschild Group and former Finance Minister and Mr Beejaye Kokil, Director of the Economic & Social Statistics Division of the African Development Bank.


Jointly issued by the ECA and the AUC