The changing landscape of data over the years have culminated in the articulated vision of a Data Revolution. Though a global vision, its specificities will vary by regions and its challenges may be country-specific. To better meet the challenges and realize the promises of the data revolution through collective effort among African stakeholders, the High Level Conference (HLC) on Data Revolution was held in Addis Ababa, March 2015, in response to a request by African Heads of State. During the HLC, the Africa Data Consensus (ADC) was adopted, urging African data communities to develop a coordinated response to data challenges and exploit the new opportunity while harnessing the challenge together.
With these changes, the existing concept of national statistical systems becomes too narrow to harness the diverse data sources and engage the diverse producers and custodians of all the data needed by society in the new SDG paradigm, resulting in a new “data ecosystem”, comprising all possible types of data, actors, legal frameworks, institutions, technologies, and interaction between all of them. Within the data ecosystem framework, the actor (any entity that is involved in either/both of data production or/and data consumption processes) is broadly defined to include not only governmental bodies but also academia, businesses and individual citizens. Various factors that affect the interaction between/within the actors such as regulation, standard, technology and culture are the other components consisting the data ecosystem.
A consortium of key data actors in Africa, comprising the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Wide Web Foundation, with support from the International Development Research Center have engaged in a continental research initiative towards producing Africa’s first Data Revolution Report. The report was carried out under the auspices of a Steering Committee, was led by a Lead Author, received ten country insights, reviews from several organisations and individuals, thematic contributions from key lead organisations and critical support from National Statistical Organisations across the continent.
Launched on January 18, 2017 during a prime session at the United Nation’s first ever World Data Forum in Cape Town, South Africa, the report has mobilised unprecedented collaboration across stakeholders groups in Africa: the official statistics community, the research community, the UN family, the Open Data Community, the Civil Society Organisations, and much more. The report has tabled key recommendations for the region while identifying key challenges. As a property of the region, it is being translated into French and hard copies will be handed over to African ministers.