Strengthening Africa’s data landscape key to meeting development targets – report

JOHANNESBURG – Africa has a fragmented data landscape, making it difficult to quantify and therefore meet development targets, a new report from the Mo Ibrahim Foundation published on Tuesday shows.

The African Governance Report, which draws on data from the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG), shares new insights on progress towards the African Union’s Agenda 2063 — a blueprint and master plan for transforming the continent into a future global powerhouse — and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The report points to where policy efforts can be focused to tackle current governance challenges and highlights the urgency of addressing the ‘data gap’ in Africa to ensure progress can be assessed and shortfalls addressed.

"A concerning picture of data challenges emerge across the continent," the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which was established in 2006 with a focus on the critical importance of leadership and governance in Africa, said in a statement.

"Almost half of the targets for Agenda 2063 are not directly quantifiable and so far, fewer than 20 percent have an indicator to measure progress. On average fewer than 40 percent of the indicators for the SDGs have sufficient data to track progress accurately on the continent."

The report says over half of the data source types on SDG indicators on Africa are estimation, modelling or global monitoring. In particular, only one third of data sources on SDG indicators on Africa are from direct country sources.

"The ability to monitor progress towards development targets in Africa is compromised," said the foundation.

One of the areas that has seen, on average, a large deterioration is population and vital statistics. 

Only eight African countries have a birth registration system that covers 90 percent or more of the population between 2009 and 2018 and only three have a death registration system that covers 90 percent or more of the population. 

"The paucity of such vital data is in striking contrast with population growth – Africa is expected to be home to 1.68 billion people by 2030," the foundation said.

"Without accurate and complete vital statistics, it is impossible to implement effective solutions to any development challenge and to deliver for citizens."

Data is an essential foundation for effective policymaking and resource mobilisation, the foundation’s chairman Sudanese-British billionaire businessman Mo Ibrahim said.

"Without data, we drive blind – policies are misdirected and progress on the road to development is stunted. We must all act urgently to close the ‘data gap’, if indeed we aim to leave no one behind.”

MoIbrahimFoundation1 - Strengthening Africa’s data landscape key to meeting development targets - report

– African News Agency (ANA)

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