Former President of Liberia and Former ECOWAS Chair, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has urged African countries to prioritize the use of data in its policy making as she says it is critical to Africa’s development.

“In Africa, the need for timely data has become increasingly important in recent years. With the continent experiencing significant economic growth and development, data has become an essential tool for policymakers and development practitioners seeking to track progress, identify areas for intervention, and make informed decisions that can impact the lives of millions of people.” she emphasized while speaking as a keynote speaker at the planning meeting of the 10th round of Afrometer surveys in Ada, Ghana.

“So, what can be done to ensure that timely data becomes a reality in Africa?” she queried

“Firstly, greater investment in data infrastructure and capacity building must be made. This includes building the technical and human capacity to collect, manage, and analyze data and investing in essential tools and technologies.

Secondly, there needs to be a greater emphasis on data-driven decision-making. Policymakers and practitioners need to be trained in the use of data, and there needs to be a greater emphasis on evidence-based policymaking. This can be achieved through the development of data-driven decision-making frameworks, as well as through the establishment of partnerships between governments, academia, and civil society.

Finally, there needs to be greater recognition of the importance of timely data at all levels of society. This includes the development of public awareness campaigns that highlight the importance of data in the context of African development, as well as establishing mechanisms to ensure that data is used effectively to inform policy making.” Johnson Sirleaf added.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of Afrobarometer, Joseph Asunka says the research network is committed to strengthening governance based research amongst young researchers and governments.

“Our engagement with a wide range of stakeholders goes beyond providing reliable data and analysis. Our new strategy, adopted last year, highlights strengthening the capacities of young African researchers as well as the ability of governments, development partners, civil society, and the media to understand and use data and evidence in their work,” Joseph Asunka said.

“To nurture the next generation of researchers, we will continue to implement our traditional summer school programs, with some modifications, and roll out a series of mentorships and fellowships. Through this work, we will continue to help domesticate the study of African societies and economies”, he concluded.

Source: Ghana/ Kojo