Africa’s open data revolution hampered by challenges

Gilbert Nakweya at SciDevNet: “According to the inaugural Africa Data Revolution Report (ADRR), there is minimal or non-existent collaborations among data communities regarding the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Africa’s Agenda 2063.
…The report cites issues such as legal and policy frameworks, infrastructure, technology and interactions among key actors as challenges that confront data ecosystems of ten African countries studied: Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland and Tanzania.

The ADRR was jointly published by the Economic Commission for Africa, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Wide Web Foundation and Open Data for Development Network (OD4D).

“Open data is Africa’s biggest challenge,” says Nnenna Nwakanma, a senior policy manager at the US-headquartered World Wide Web Foundation, noting that open data revolution is key to Africa achieving the SDGs.

Nwakanma tells SciDev.Net that data revolution is built on access to information, the web, and to content, citing open data’s benefits such as governments functioning more efficiently, businesses innovating more and citizens participating in governance and demanding accountability.

Serge Kapto, a policy specialist on data from the UNDP, says that frameworks such as the African charter on statistics and the strategy for harmonisation of statistics in Africa adopted by the continent have laid the groundwork for an African data revolution…
Kapto adds that Africa is well positioned to reap the benefits of the data revolution for sustainable development and leapfrog technology to serve national and regional development priorities.

But, he explains, much work remains to be done to fully take advantage of the opportunity afforded by the data revolution for achieving development plans….(More)”