Data, Platforms and Analytics Helping Africa Combat Covid-19, Says ECA's Chinganya

9 December 2020

Addis Ababa — The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) on Wednesday hosted a virtual webinar showcasing the power of data partnerships in combating the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic in Africa.

The webinar brought together UN Resident Coordinators and their teams, Heads of National Statistical Offices and COVID-19 surveillance teams in Africa, and providers of data, interactive data, platforms, analytics and tested solutions to share their experiences, showcase results from their work and share learning from their collaborative efforts.

In his remarks, ECA's African Centre for Statistics Director, Oliver Chinganya, said since the inception of the ECA-GPSDD partnership to support countries to better respond to COVID-19; Building Africa's Resilience to the pandemic; "We have worked with a consortium of partners who have supported the continental and national statistical systems to adapt to the ongoing challenges and revamp statistical production, dissemination and use".

"The idea was to bring the best data, platforms and analytics to combat COVID-19 across Africa," he said.

That meant working with governments to understand priority data needs; bringing providers of data, platforms and analytics together in partnership with government to offer solutions; putting tested solutions to work, strengthen systems by ensuring new solutions are sustainable and can be maintained for the long-term; increasing the effective use of partner resources by targeting the most acute data gaps and minimizing duplication; and develop skills and capacity to strengthen systems in the long term.

Lessons and information were also shared among partners and countries for quick adoption and replication of effective solutions.

"We set our ambition and target very high by aiming to support more than at least a two-thirds of countries working with UN Resident Coordinators, government agencies and other partners," said Mr. Chinganya.

For her part, Claire Melamed, GPSDD CEO, applauded the ambition and dynamism around the work of the partners in making sure data informed Africa's response to the deadly pandemic and charting a path out of the crisis to efforts to build forward better.

She said the partners worked hard to ensure there was timely and accurate data that was well understood by the citizenry and policymakers for informed decisions.

"We must celebrate each other, our achievement and the huge progress that we have made in data. We also have to celebrate and recognize the very had working public servants across the continent who have been responsible for using this data and for turning it into the impact that we have seen and are all proud to having helped to create," said Ms. Melamed.

The consortium of partners includes GRID3, ESRI, Flowminder, FRAYM, Dalberg, Global Voice Group, Surgo Foundation, Space 4 Climate and Facebook, among others.

Through this partnership, the consortium engaged with all 55 African countries and is currently actively engaged in 35 nations; held discussions with UN Resident Coordinators in 18 countries and with NSOs in 22 countries; and had multiple discussions and engagements with over 35 supply-side partners.

During the webinar, partners showcased the results of various data partnerships and emerging data stories at the national level in combating COVID-19; celebrated their achievements and shared experiences and challenges through peer-peer learning from ongoing partnerships and initiatives to inspire replication.

UN Resident Coordinators, NSOs and surveillance teams were introduced to providers of data, interactive data platforms, analytics and tested solutions in the priority areas with the partners also explaining the process of how participants would gain access to the range of resources and other capacity support made available by the supply side providers.

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