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Big data innovation as part of a Data Revolution in Africa

Paula Hidalgo-Sanchis
Mar 27, 2015

This weekend, representatives from Governments, Academia, UN system, civil society and development partners from numerous African countries gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for a High-Level Conference on the Data Revolution in Africa, hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank, the African Union Commission, and UNDP. The conference follows the UN Secretary-General's Independent Expert Advisory Group report on the data revolution. The goal is to reach an African Data Consensus, and provide an entry point for African Nations leading into the landmark Third International Conference on Financing for Development being held in July this year.

After surveying "data communities" across Africa, the conference agenda coalesced around a few key pillars, including: Official Statistics, Open Data, Development Data, Gender and Innovation.

I have been pleased to join the "innovation community," and present some ideas for future investment.

Big Data Innovation: Inspiration & Examples from Pulse Lab Kampala (VIDEOS)

In East Africa and beyond, African cities are becoming hives of innovation - with the potential for leapfrog technology that bypasses desktop computers and jumps straight to mobile-first technology, apps, banking and other services.

With all this potential, Pulse Lab Kampala is exploring promising big data innovations that development partners can operationalize across the region in the years to come.

For example, can analysis of mobile phone data help respond to infectious disease outbreaks? Can sentiment analysis on social media and citizen reports help understand Ugandan citizens’ needs and priorities in a new way, or analyse perceptions towards public health issues, can radio speech be considered a source of development data?

The videos below explain some of the different ideas for big data and analytics for sustainable development that Pulse Lab Kampala and our partners have been exploring:

 

 

 

Paula Hidalgo-Sanchis is Manager of Pulse Lab Kampala.

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