AfDB Launches New Information Highways

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Following the launch in March 2013 of Open Data Platforms in 30 African countries, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has launched additional data platforms in the following 10 African countries: Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Gabon, Mali, Madagascar, Niger, Somalia, Sudan. This brings to forty (40) the number of African countries already connected to the Open Data network.

The Open Data Platform program is part of the AfDB's recently launched "Africa Information Highway" initiative aimed at significantly improving data management and dissemination in Africa. Work is on course to complete platforms for the remaining 13 African countries by July 2013.

The Open Data Platform is a user-friendly tool for extracting data, creating and sharing own customized reports, and visualizing data across themes, sectors and countries in tables, charts and maps. Through the Open Data Platform, users can access a wide range of development data on African countries from multiple international and national official sources. The platform also facilitates the collection, analysis and sharing of data among countries and with international development partners.

The platform offers a unique opportunity for various users, such as policymakers, analysts, researchers, business leaders and investors around the world, to gain access to reliable and timely data on Africa. Users can visualize time series development indicators over a period of time, perform comprehensive analysis at country and regional levels, utilize presentation-ready graphics or create their own, blog, and share their views and work with others, thereby creating an informed community of users.

The Open Data Platform initiative is a response by the African Development Bank Group aimed at significantly increasing access to quality data necessary for managing and monitoring development results in African countries, including the MDGs. It responds to a number of important global and regional initiatives to scale up the availability of quality data on Africa and so foster evidence-based decision-making, public accountability and good governance.

Once implemented, the Open Data Platform will be used by African countries for all data submission flows to the AfDB and to other international development partners, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the EU Commission, World Health Organization (WHO), UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), African Union Commission (AUC) and UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). This initiative presents a unique opportunity for African countries to take the lead in implementation and promotion of international statistical standards across all countries in the region and in enhancing the quality of the data disseminated by African countries.

The initiative will also significantly revolutionize data management and dissemination in Africa, and reposition the continent for more effective participation in the global information economy.

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