AfDB’s new initiative to boost Africa’s information superhighway

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has unveiled a programme aimed at improving data management and dissemination in Africa.

The bank’s initiative provides an opportunity for African countries to implement statistical standards at a regional level as well as make their data accessible through a common platform.

According to AfDB, the programme’s prime objective is to facilitate wider public access to official statistics and to enable African countries to improve data quality and dissemination, thus ensuring improved policy formulation, monitoring and evaluation.

The programme, which involves the development and installation of common IT platforms in all 54 African countries and 16 sub-regional and regional organisations in Africa, is expected to significantly reduce the data reporting burden of African countries as data will now only need to be uploaded once into the AfDB system before it is shared with various development partners.

It is also focused on establishing live data links between the Bank and National Statistical Agencies, Central Banks and Line Ministries in African countries and linking the countries with each other.

“This will facilitate easy data exchange, validation, analysis and dissemination using common international standards and guidelines. This approach will not only ease access to statistical data and metadata in African countries, it will also help to improve the quality of the country data by making it more internationally comparable, harmonized, meaningful, and ultimately more usable,” AfDB said.

The IT platform currently under deployment in Africa also features a data submission tool for transfer of country data to the AfDB’s statistical portal. In this regard, the AfDB Statistics Department has teamed up with the IMF Statistics Department to help countries prepare National Summary Data Pages, as part of the preparation for subscribing to the enhanced IMF Special Data Dissemination Standards (SDDS-Plus).

AfDB further partnered with the European Union to offer easy access to agricultural data and to tools for simulating various agricultural policy alternatives, which would position it as the key depository for development data in Africa.

“The project will also significantly revolutionize data management and dissemination in Africa, and reposition the continent for more effective participation in the global information economy,” AfDB said.

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