Data Remains Gold For Africa But Hidden – Experts say
As statisticians celebrate the International statistics day, some experts in the field have raised concerns that there is dormant data which could be used to transform African lives.
These are some of the concerns highlighted at the Transform Africa Summit 2015, in Kigali during the second day session on â€œNew black goldâ€ – Harnessing Africa Data Revolution.
Dr. Yussuf Murangwa, the Director General of the National Institute of Statistics Rwanda (NISR) says there are three kinds of data. But there is data that has not been explored, apart from the basic and traditional data, there is official data, and daily statistics of people work daily which is not fully captured and analyzed.
â€œStatistics is not rocket science and it is a myth that needs to be erased from peopleâ€™s minds. There is data there but people are unwilling to release it due to unfounded fear in them. But if data is released it can be very important and revolutionise our business modelsâ€ Murangwa said.
Atsushi Yamanaka from Rwanda Private Sector (PSF), however said that the existing data being used appropriately and that is very lacking in Africa mostly and there is a need to open data for easy access and information to be used for planning.
Open data will empower governments and private sector. When we know the information and statistics we can know where to intervene. It is a win-win situation and there is no need to hide data. We need openness on data.
To this, Dr. Murangwa said that the solution is that data should have regulation and mechanism to follow through, for example agreements; otherwise a lot of people can be abused in the process of releasing data to anyone.
Antoinette Edodo from Sovereign Art Foundation (SAF) argues that should strict legislation and regulation of data being given out by the governments and induvial , because it ties the person down if someone has all the data about people- for example the time travel out and in a country, health conditions, family and loan history etc.
â€œWe need to use that information in a good way and government have to do the part of protecting its peopleâ€ she said.
Dozie Ezigbalike from Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) says that in the long run, Africa needs to design a new model of how to put this existing data into real business models which can be used to transform economies especially in Africa where there is a lot of data that is untapped.