Regional Report 2007-2008: Africa

Report of the African Regional Secretary

Kitzito Kasozi
Director Information Technology
Uganda Bureau of Statistics

I convey warm greetings from Africa. I am humbled for this opportunity to tell you what has happened in Africa since the last meeting.

Data Documentation, Preservation and Dissemination

Africa has joined the rest of the world in recognising the need to exhaustively utilise data for informed planning and decision making. In this respect, efforts towards preservation and mining of microdata have become a common feature.

The International Household Survey Network (IHSN) and support from the Accelerated Data Program (ADP) a satellite programme of the Paris21 have helped 15 African countries to adopt and start using Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) and Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) as tools to establish their national microdata archives. The IHSN has continued to provide training in the use of the data management tools to the staff mainly at the African statistical agencies that have begun using the tools. This training however is going to extend to other agencies as they develop and implement their National Statistics Development Strategies (NSDS).

A few countries like Uganda, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Liberia that are using DDI have developed National Data Archives (NADA). Uganda and Nigeria have undertaken partial or full inventory of datasets across their National Statistical Systems (NSS). Likewise for francophone countries, significant progress is made in the area of data curation. Unfortunately, no detailed account was obtained by filing of this report.

Despite the reported successes, there is still a lot to be done within the region to realise a comprehensive documentation and open sharing of data in Africa and remains a big challenge.

Building a Community of Practice in Africa

In 2007 at the IASSIST Canada meeting, a formal appointment of the first Secretary for the Africa region was made. This development further supported the idea the African team had groomed of forming a community of practice of African data archivists.

Since data curation in Africa is predominantly a concern of government statistical agencies with very few independent agencies engaged in statistical services on a full time basis, the foundation for the community of practice had to follow suit.

The African Association of Statistical Data Archivists

The AFRICAN ASSOCIATION OF STATISTICAL DATA ARCHIVISTS / ASSOCIATION AFRICAINE POUR L’ARCHIVAGE DES DONNÉES STATISTIQUES (AASDA) was formed at a meeting held in Cape Town, South Africa (10th - 12th April). The meeting was hosted by the University of Cape Town, organised by DataFirst and funded by IHSN. The meeting was opened by the Statistician General of Statistics South Africa and closed by the representative of the African Centre for Statistics, UNECA

A constitution was developed and adopted to guide the activities of the association. The activities will be based on the following objectives:

  • To foster and promote excellence in data curation and dissemination through professional networking
  • To promote wider use of data through adoption of efficient data delivery mechanisms that narrows the bridge between producers and users of data
  • To promote the development of standards in data curation and dissemination across the region.

The founder members included representatives from:

  1. Niger Institute of National Statistics
  2. Mozambique Instituto Nacional de Estadistica
  3. Uganda Bureau of Statistics
  4. Nigeria National Bureau of Statistics
  5. Gambia Bureau of Statistics
  6. Mali Institute of National Statistics
  7. Statistics South Africa
  8. Cameroon Institute of National Statistics
  9. Ghana Statistical Service
  10. Ethiopian Central Statistical Agency
  11. Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services
  12. South African Data Archive
  13. Uganda Statistical Society
  14. DataFirst, University of Cape Town

Also in attendance were representatives from:

  1. Afristat
  3. World Bank (+ IHSN and ADP core team)
  4. PARIS21 Secretariat at OECD (+ IHSN and ADP core team)
  5. World Bank (+ ADP core team)
  6. African Centre for Statistics, UNECA
  7. African Development Bank
  8. DFID (+ IHSN and ADP core team)

An interim Executive Committee for 2008-2009 was selected. The committee members include:

President: Kizito Kasozi, Uganda Bureau of Statistics
Vice-President: Yakob Mudesir, Ethiopian Central Statistical Agency
Secretary: Julienne Aitchediji, Niger Institute of Statistics
Treasurer: Lolley Kah Jallow, Gambia Bureau of Statistics
Member: Martin Mba, Cameroon Institute of Statistics

A roadmap for the interim period was drawn. AASDA is currently in the process of building a strong forum through active participation in the initial activities as well as campaigning for more membership within Africa. The association website will soon be commissioned and shall provide a better channel for information sharing and enlisting new members.

The establishment of AASDA is a major step towards formal and open data sharing on the Africa continent and beyond.

Any support towards this noble cause is most welcome.