African civil society organisations, open data advocates and technology pioneers on Saturday agreed on first steps towards establishing groundbreaking new policy and investment framework to open up government data in Africa.
Following the United Nation’s call for a data revolution, this coalition of organisations have agreed concrete steps that can unlock the potential of open data across the continent, which experts meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said could help beat corruption, spark innovation and improve government services.
Experts noted that Africa currently lacks accurate data for its policy development needs and, as a result, statistical data from the continent is often questioned as being inaccurate, unreliable and sometimes there are allegations of the data being manipulated.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca), the African Union (AU), the African Development Bank (AfDB) together with other stakeholders found it vital to hold the high level conference on data revolution in Africa from March 27 to 29 2015, as a sideline event of the conference of ministers of finance and economic planning.
“Data revolution means more demand, more data, more communities, more usage, more results and more engagement, an inspiring vision of a world of fast-flowing data deployed for the public good, and of citizens and governments excited and empowered by the possibilities this creates,” said Carlos Lopes, ECA executive secretary in an interview.
In a document, Africa Data Consensus (ADC), produced at the end of the discussion, data communities have asked governments on the continent to embrace a diverse range of data sources, tools and innovative technologies to provide disaggregated data for decision-making, service delivery and citizen engagement and information for Africa to own its narrative.
The consensus document will be adopted by the ministers of economy and finance who start meeting on Monday. n