Press Release: African Data platform launched to challenge global development community for accuracy of Data: “The African continent deserves better and more accurate data”

For immediate release

African Data platform launched to challenge global development community for accuracy of Data: “The African continent deserves better and more accurate data”


London August 2015: A group of prominent African leaders in the field of data and innovation from Ghana, Kenya, Zambia, Rwanda and Senegal announced the launch of the Accur8Africa platform to improve the accuracy of data in the continent before the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in New York this coming September at the 70th United Nation General Assembly.

Accur8Africa is pushing for an African data revolution, which should ensure that data can be harnessed to impact on planning and decision making in the next fifteen years, as we believe that for accuracy of data remains a nonnegotiable necessity for the continent’s further progress.

To illustrate the problem of data accuracy in Africa, one may ponder the recent, and widely circulated survey outcome that, ”89% of Zambians women overwhelmingly support domestic violence and corporate punishment”. A dubious statistic that had later to be corrected following an uproar; Many African data scientists even question basic population and GDP Data used in Africa in a view of weak census and GDP rebasing practices such an estimate of “1.13 billion people of the African continent and the exaggerated growth of the Nigerian Economy of April 2014

Accur8Africa recognizes that nothing less than a data revolution is required now in Africa, from improvements in national census policies to a shift in how African Economic Outlooks are computed to ensure better capturing of the informal sector. To achieve this, we are working with partners to support the innovative capacities of statistical institutions across Africa and encouraging the use of data-driven decisions alongside better development metrics for key sectors such as gender equality, climate change, equity, social inclusion, entrepreneurship and health. The revolution will be digitized. In 2015, as we gear up for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the necessity of accurate data is more pertinent than ever. The post-2015 goals aim to fight poverty, improve health, increase gender equality, and protect the environment. Nothing less then the earth’s future is at risk.

But none of these goals will be achievable without the necessary accurate data. As is often said: nothing measured, nothing improved!

As the Millennium Development goals transitions into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Senegalese Development Activist Marieme Jamme’s effort to launch Accur8Africa, a platform aiming to transform the data ecosystem of Africa by supporting governments, the private sector, and the civil society organizations in strengthening the ecosystem is part of an emerging grassroots effort in Africa for Africans to take more charge or their own development ambition.

For data to be useful to civilians, policy-makers, businesses, civil society and other stakeholders, however a better job has to be done than merely focusing on collecting more inaccurate data. Accur8Africa therefore calls for a continental data revolution, training of the African data scientists and analysts and pushing for a better collaboration in the Data Ecosystem.

The international development community’s claim that poverty has been eradicated in the Global South remains largely unquantifiable. Certainly no region in the world is on track to meet all the millennium development goals, while many African nations will not have achieved any. As a continent we have fallen behind in producing complete, consistent, and accurate data for decades thanks to lack of investment, poor infrastructure, insufficient Data experts, data literacy and the interference of development partners exporting Data for their various reports.

This chronic lack of accurate data results in inadequate policy-making, and accountability, which is in turn, exacerbated by a lack of clear monitoring and evaluation frameworks the African deserves. This results in an inability to assess the true success, or indeed failure of policy-making which is hurting Africa. The Accur8Africa team of Data Champions and Advisors will map the African Data Ecosystem and communities of Data Scientists across Africa. “Without Accurate Data, one can’t be confident about Africa’s progress. The Accur8Africa platform is a timely solution especially to policymakers” said Calestous Jumna, Professor at Harvard Kennedy School and Data Advisor of Accur8Africa.


Editor’s Notes

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