Data is key for Africa’s development, says ex-Liberian leader. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the former President of Liberia, has called for more investment in data infrastructure and capacity building in Africa.
She said that this involves enhancing the skills and resources to collect, manage, and analyze data and investing in essential tools and technologies.
She also said that data-driven decision-making should be prioritized.
She delivered a keynote speech on the theme “Timely Data in the Context of African Development and Policy Decision Making” at the 2023 Afrobarometer Planning Meeting on Monday May 15. She said “Data users need to be trained in how to use data, and evidence-based policymaking should be emphasized.
“This can be done through developing frameworks for data-driven decision-making, as well as through creating partnerships between governments, academia, and civil society.
“Timely data should be valued at all levels of society. This includes developing public awareness campaigns that show the importance of data for African development, as well as setting up mechanisms to ensure that data is used effectively to inform policymaking.”
The member of Afrobarometer’s International Advisory Council also noted that another aspect of their work that she appreciates is their focus on promoting social inclusion and equality.
She said that their surveys collect information on issues such as access to education, healthcare, and other basic services and attitudes towards minority groups and marginalized communities. She said that such data can help promote social justice and reduce inequality, thereby contributing to a more inclusive and equitable society.
She said that timely data is crucial for African development and policy decision-making. She said that despite the challenges facing the continent, progress is being made in many areas. She praised the work of institutions like Afrobarometer. She said that their work has created a platform for African citizens to voice their opinions and concerns – that by promoting a culture of transparency, accountability, and active citizenship in Africa.
She concluded by saying “As you discuss this week, I hope you do so, recognizing the importance of your work and the task ahead. There is still much to be done if Africa must unlock the full potential of its data.”