The African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced that it has completed the last phase of deploying its Open Data for Africa platform across the continent following deployments in Benin, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Kenya, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, and Togo.

The platform has now been rolled out to all 54 countries across the continent.

AfDB says that the platform will assist in the gathering, access, management and analysis of quality data from African countries. This is because the platform is part of the AfDB’s ‘Africa Information Highway’ initiative which saw the establishment of live data links between the AfDB, National Statistical Offices, Central Banks and line ministries in all 54 countries.

It’s hoped that the data will help with data driven decision making which will allow for tracking in various areas such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) at both national and regional levels. Other benefits of the platform which can be realised over time is improvement of governance and public accountability of elected officials.

Furthermore subregional organizations, international development institutions, and a worldwide community of users will also have access to the platform. Institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will upload their data and statistics regularly.

In a statement issued by the AfDB on the functionality of the platform it says that “Users can visualize time series development indicators, perform comprehensive analysis at country and regional levels, utilize presentation-ready templates or create their own visuals, blog, share their views and work with others. The website also provides new users with an introductory video on how maximize their use of the Open Data Platform, tailored to their own specific needs.”

What will be interesting to observe is the effect such a platform will have on citizens understanding of how decisions are made in each country and how they hold officials accountable based on the data given recent uprisings in countries such as Tunisia and Egypt.

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