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Experts seek sustainable data revolution in Nigeria, others




RESEARCH experts have stressed the need to create a data revolution that would be extraordinarily useful in the formulation of public policy, allocation of government resources, and creation of effective development strategies in Nigeria and across Africa.

Specifically, the Director , The Tony Elumelu Foundation’s Africapitalism Institute, David Rice, while addressing participants  during the three-day working session to create a roadmap on how to implement an ambitious plan to initiate a “data revolution” across Africa, organized by the institute, in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, submitted that as the world prepares to establish a new set of goals for the post-2015 development agenda,  there was an urgent need for a data revolution in Africa to inform key policies which would address some of the continent’s most critical needs.

He added that for the private sector’s commitment to Africa’s development, through long-term investment to take root on the continent, the data revolution must be as inclusive as possible.

Also speaking at the event,  the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Dozie Ezigbalike described data revolution as n active process of doing things in different and new ways, with the objective to empower citizens to become active participants in processes that would affect them.

With access to appropriate presented data, according to Ezigbalike, citizens can demand services that they rightfully deserve, and confirm that the agreed services were actually delivered.

The World Wide Web Foundation’s Nnenna Nwakanma  who  restated her commitment to the data revolution said, “Data is the new gold. The more of it you can generate, use, and share, the more sustainably developed you will be. Opening up data is key to my work at the Web Foundation and engaging our expertise towards the Data Revolution in Africa is a firm decision.

“We are here to support policy, build capacities, contribute to better governance with data and support citizen engagement. Our work in research, in Open Data, in standards, in data labs and in policy advisory will accompany the implementation of the Africa Data Consensus”.

To better meet the challenges and realize the promises of the data revolution through collective effort among African stakeholders, a conference (HLC) on Data Revolution was held in Addis Ababa, March 2015, in response to a request by African Heads of States. During the HLC, an Africa Data Consensus (ADC) was adopted, which urges African data communities to develop a coordinated response and exploit the new opportunity while responding to the challenge together.

The conversation on the data revolution in Africa continued in Lagos when the Economic Commission for Africa convened data experts to discuss immediate steps to be taken to actualize the data revolution in Africa. The Lagos meeting, hosted by Tony Elumelu Foundation’s Africapitalism Institute, included experts from the World Wide Web Foundation, United Nations, African Union Commission and  Africa Development Bank.

The outcome of the meeting becomes a permanent annex to the ADC and includes guiding principles for partnership with other ongoing initiatives at global, national and regional levels.

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