A summary brochure previewing the 2018 Africa Data Revolution Report was released at the second UN World Data Forum.
The report focuses on the status and emerging impact of open data on the continent, highlighting data’s role in supporting peaceful elections.
Recommendations include promoting a culture shift around open government data, building local capacity, involving users and other stakeholders, among others.
24 October 2018: The 2018 Africa Data Revolution Report (ADRR) focuses on Open Government Data (OGD) and their role in the region. A summary and the key recommendations of the report were released during the second UN World Data Forum summarizes key findings and recommendations, while the full report is expected to be available in December 2018.
Titled, ‘Status and Emerging Impact of Open Data in Africa,’ this second edition of the ADRR builds on the 2016 report’s methodology, drawing on country reports, existing initiatives and experts’ input to offer an analysis of open data’s impact in the African context. The summary notes that OGD institutionalization varies greatly between African governments, and that although there appears to be growing political will and a democratization of information, citizens themselves remain unlikely to access open data.
Timely data, even if imperfect, can still be useful as they undergo quality assurance checks.
The summary highlights the impact that opening up governments’ election data has had on transparency and the acceptance of key election results. Such acceptance, the summary underscores, is key to peaceful democratic transitions of power, particularly in sensitive or fragile politically environments, where violence stemming from contested elections can extract a human and societal cost.
The report will advocate for the timely release of data, even if imperfect, noting that slightly flawed but useable datasets are still useful as they undergo quality assurance checks. Other recommendations from the report include:
- Promoting culture shifts around the importance and ownership of government data, which the summary notes “belongs to the citizen, not the government”;
- Reducing the number of official open data portals;
- Building local capacity within governments to institutionalize open data processes;
- Ensuring that National Statistical Offices (NSOs) are the primary custodians and drivers of national open data agendas and policy implementation;
- Supporting OGD intermediaries;
- Involving users and other stakeholders in decisions relating to open data; and
- Recognizing that the priorities of the “global north” are not the same as those of Africa.
The report is led by University of Cape Town authors and released by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Open Data for Development, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Wide Web Foundation, with support from the Republic of Korea and Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC). [Africa Data Revolution Report 2018 Brochure] [University of Cape Town Press Release] [SDG Knowledge Hub story on Second UN World Data Forum]