It is evident that the urgency of the Covid19 crisis has been a catalyst for creative and novel approaches to data access and use, with the aim of supporting decision-makers to act fast and decisively. Countries across Africa have developed, and are still developing, innovative uses of data and statistics to monitor the extent of the spread of Covid-19 among their populations. Access to mobile phone data, for example, has allowed new ways of tracking the disease and its social implications.

There is an opportunity to learn from the use of data science for Covid19 response to benefit both policymakers and data scientists across Africa, helping to foster more effective data sharing collaborations and to support data-enabled innovations.

Project objectives

* Survey innovations in data access and usage from across Africa in the COVID-19 pandemic response and share these best practices across the African data science community.
* Identify lessons from the use of data science in the COVID-19 response for the future development of data policies across Africa.
* Develop a blueprint for more effective data sharing collaborations and policy frameworks to support safe and effective data use.

A meta study of data science initiatives in Africa for Covid19 response.


While we have seen an increase in data driven innovations for Covid19 response, we do not know the approaches to data access, the different stakeholders involved and their influence in the data ecosystem, and the nature of collaborations that are an enabler to increased data usage. Moreover, we do not know the technical, legal, cultural and ethical challenges that were faced in the different use cases in different organisations/institutions, or how projects have overcome these challenges. Learning from these experiences could help develop frameworks for data sharing that support increased data-enabled innovation across Africa in future.

This study aims to make a compilation of all innovative ways people and organisations have gathered and/or used data science to respond to Covid19 in Africa. We propose to analyse these and extract lessons to inform the future development of policy frameworks across the continent.

There are opportunities now to learn from these innovations to foster more effective data sharing collaborations and support data-enabled innovation across Africa in future by creating policy frameworks that support safe and effective data use.

We are building a detailed database of data driven Covid19 solutions in Africa and we call upon you to support this work by providing inputs to this small survey.

This study is the first step in a series of activities exploring the development of data policy in Africa. Further updates will be posted to this website.

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