Welcome to the Africa Open Data Network Monthly resource list for SEPTEMBER 2021. Every month we put together content including a reading list, avenues for capacity building, and events from different stakeholders across the globe on the use of data for equal and sustainable development.
A conceptual framework and language around data stewardship should help us build a common understanding among different data and statistical communities on what it takes for establishing a system of resilient data governance that is built on strong partnerships, well balanced between providing effective data sharing and data privacy protection mechanisms and would help us reap the social and economic benefits of data for our wide range of users. This will ensure that we keep up with the changing landscape of the data ecosystem.
This week the Open Government Partnership (OGP) officially turns 10 years old. It was at the United Nations in September of 2011 that a founding group of heads of state, ministers, and civil society leaders came together after months of hard work behind the scenes. President Obama’s opening remarks set out the aims for OGP member countries and civil society. Ten years later OGP has grown to 78 national members, 76 local members, and thousands of civil society organizations. More importantly, the global open government community has co-created over 4,500 concrete reforms in the first ten years, with many of those reforms having a real impact on citizens’ lives.
Throughout the pandemic, governments have faced a relentless pace of high-stakes decision-making about everything from infections, variants, and vaccine rollout, to understanding and addressing the pandemic’s effects on employment, food security, education, and more. All of this across geography, age, and race. The pandemic has put massive stress on the systems governments use to collect and share data and has, in many cases, revealed how outdated and feeble these systems are. It has tested governments’ ability to stay abreast of the latest evidence, and use it to make nimble, life-saving policy decisions.
The Hewlett Foundation’s EIP grantee partners are testing four approaches to fostering routine evidence use among government partners. They are working to strengthen the capacities, systems, and incentives inside governments to use evidence and data. They are also facilitating external communities of practice that support and nudge government partners in their use of evidence.
Before Covid-19, the number and percentage of people living in extreme poverty around the world had been falling. We’ve also seen advances in the disaggregation of data and broad recognition at national and international levels of the importance of structural inequalities to understanding drivers of poverty and exclusion.
Despite this progress, however, reaching the target to end extreme poverty by 2030 was unlikely, with poverty still increasing in some countries, particularly those affected by conflict and fragility. Important data gaps on who remains in poverty persist, particularly in recognizing the most marginalized groups in society and their intersecting characteristics. The Covid-19 pandemic has compounded these challenges, reminding us in a very stark way how fragile progress on poverty and inequality reduction can be and how much risk and uncertainty underpins the lives and livelihoods of people living in poverty.
The world burns while the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and a global pandemic mutates faster than we can vaccinate people. These are complex and intractable problems, and we know that data can power more targeted and effective solutions. So why don’t we see more data sharing or evidence-based policies? And why do so many tech-driven solutions fall into disuse? The answer is because of people.
It is no secret that we live in a data-driven world. Every day, quintillion of data are generated and utilized by Big Data and private sector companies, who weave data analytics into their operations in order to deliver value and target their customers. Governments hold more data now than ever, and by harnessing the power of data analytics, data usage at the national and subnational government level can then lead to better outcomes, allowing governments to better meet their objectives and meet their citizens’ needs.
There’s an information gap that keeps us from eradicating food insecurity as hundreds of millions of people around the world continue to go hungry every day. Low and middle-income countries spend around $190 billion annually on agriculture to address food insecurity. Yet the data to effectively target this spending or measure results is often patchy, outdated or simply doesn’t exist.
This inception report focuses on the emerging trends in Africa’s digital and data environment. The study builds a case for mobilizing action at both regional and national levels, to strengthen data governance frameworks in Africa, particularly in view of the ongoing regional economic integration initiatives under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Read more
To maximise the potential impact and acceptability of EIDM capacity building, there is a need for programmes to coordinate their remits within existing systems, playing both ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ roles. Through a review of the South African evidence-policy landscape and analysis of a stakeholder event that brought together EIDM role players, this paper illustrates how one capacity-building programme navigated its position within the national evidence-policy interface. It identifies strategies for improving the acceptability and potential effectiveness of donor-funded EIDM capacity-building activities: understanding the evidence-policy interface, incorporating programmes into the decision-making infrastructure (being an ‘insider’), whilst retaining an element of neutrality (being an ‘outsider’). Read more.
In practice, local governments use data, beliefs, traditional knowledge, opinions, and central government policy directives. In order to acquire evidence, local authorities turn to civil society organizations, hospitals, the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Analysis, and technical and financial partners, and rarely to the research community, even though researchers are theoretically known as the traditional source of evidence.
This study recommends capacity building for the various stakeholders, brokering between evidence producers and users, and institutionalizing evidence use. Read more.
The Open Contracting Partnership (OCP) is hiring a Head of Africa to lead their Africa portfolio to open up and transform public procurement across the continent. Public procurement has been on the frontline of the pandemic response: old, slow paper-based systems that reinforce existing vested interests have been found wanting across Africa and are in need of radical reform. This position will lead the charge. The application deadline is 15th October 2021.
For more information and to apply, please visit the Open Contracting website.