AfDB’s Africa Information Highway: The continent’s first “one-stop centre” for development data

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From: 24/02/2014
To: 24/02/2014
Location: Pretoria, South Africa

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  • Developed by the Bank’s Statistics Department, the portal will enhance data quality, management and dissemination in Africa

Over the years, many African countries have significantly scaled up their data collection efforts, but challenges remain with regard to the timely dissemination of data to end-users. This problem was highlighted at several recent pan-African and international meetings, resulting in a call to action by leaders for the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) to assist African countries in creating a transparent, reliable and credible portal to improve data management and dissemination on the African continent.

After successfully piloting, data portals and open data systems have been developed and installed in all 54 African countries and in 16 regional/sub-regional organisations. Other tools, such as the e-GovDP platform, are being piloted and will be rolled out this year. The Africa Information Highway Roadshow kicks off in Pretoria, South Africa, on Monday, February 24, 2014, with a launch and live demonstration before Government officials, policymakers, analysts, business leaders, investors, researchers, and representatives of civil society and non-governmental organizations.
AfDB Chief Economist and Vice-President Mthuli Ncube will be joined by Pali Lehohla, Statistician General of Statistics South Africa, the local regional partner for official statistics.

“Access to reliable, relevant and credible data is the singular most important driver for growth on the continent,” Ncube said. “It enables governments, business leaders, investors and the ordinary African citizen to not only make informed decisions, but, for the first time, to properly manage and monitor development outcomes.

“The Information Highway also responds to the Bank’s own need for statistical capacity building and the demand for timely data to monitor the development impact of our interventions on the continent and to ensure that these are in line with our Ten Year Strategy launched last year,” Ncube added.

Under the AIH initiative, data portals/open data systems with common IT platforms have been developed and installed in all 54 African countries and in 16 African regional and sub-regional organizations. Strong partnerships have been established with the International Monetary Fund, and other international organizations such as World Health Organization, European Union, International Labour Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the United Nations Statistics Division to leverage the AfDB’s Open Data Platform for data submission by African countries to these institutions and to facilitate data exchange among the countries and institutions.

The Africa Information Highway seeks to:

  • Reinforce the AfDB’s role as the knowledge centre for development data on Regional Member Countries (RMCs);
  • Promote the regional integration and harmonization agenda;
  • Reduce the data-reporting burden for RMCs;
  • Improve data quality through enhanced adherence to international standards;
  • Significantly improve data exchange among RMCs;
  • Increase data access, enhancing transparency, accountability and governance;
  • Enhance collaboration with the IMF and other partners;
  • Enhance RMCs’ access to capital markets;
  • Provide a platform for the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of development outcomes; and
  • Enhance data support for Bank operations.

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