Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia and a member of Afrobarometer’s International Advisory Council, says timely data is critical to the success of African development and policy decision-making.
She said the importance of data in the context of African development and policy decision-making was critical to formulating evidence-based policies, and the importance of timely data could not be overstated.
Madam Sirleaf said this at the launch of the Afrobarometer’s 10th round of national surveys with a planning meeting at Ada in the Greater Accra Region,
She noted with the continent experiencing significant economic growth and development, data had become an essential tool for policymakers and development practitioners seeking to track progress, identify areas for intervention, and make informed decisions that could impact the lives of millions of people.
Afrobarometer is a pan-African research network dedicated to making citizen voice a key pillar of Africa policy making.
The five-day planning meeting would involve a series of plenary and working-group sessions to discuss and design survey instruments and methodologies, data quality assurance measures, and results dissemination strategies.
Madam Sirleaf said despite the importance of data, Africa had long faced significant challenges in accessing and utilizing timely data.
She said these challenges had hindered the continent’s ability to effectively monitor progress, identify gaps, and take corrective action when needed; adding that in many cases, the lack of timely data had led to the implementation of ineffective policies, the inequalities.
She said one of Africa’s biggest challenges regarding timely data was the lack of infrastructure and resources to collect and analyze data promptly.
She said many countries on the continent lack the necessary tools and expertise to collect, manage, and analyze data effectively, which had led to data availability delays and serious consequences for policymakers and practitioners.
“While significant challenges face the continent, progress is being made in many areas, we applaud the work of institutions like Afrobarometer.” Madam Sirleaf said.
“Because your work had created a platform for African citizens to voice their opinions and concerns – that by promoting a culture of transparency, accountability, and active citizenship in Africa.”
Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, in a speech read on her behalf said Afrobarometer had become a household name in the Continent’s quest for transparent and accountable governance.
“Afrobarometer, together with other research groups, continue to play a meaningful role in the political discourse by making people’s voices significant in policy initiatives and decision-making at the continental and global level”.
Professor Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, Afrobarometer co-founder and Board Chair, noted that Afrobarometer was unwavering in its commitment to promoting and enabling evidence-based policy making in Africa.
He said the collaborative efforts and insights gathered during the meeting would be instrumental in guiding their future research endeavours.
Mr Joseph Asunka, Chief Executive Officer, Afrobarometer, said the Afrobarometer’s data was a public good, which was valued and used extensively around the globe.
“Core or institutional funding is critical to the continued production of these data, and I hope you will all support us with advice and guidance on fundraising within and beyond the continent, including from private businesses that benefit or could benefit from the evidence we generate.”
He said the Round 10 planning meeting sets the stage for impactful research that would provide invaluable insights into the aspirations and concerns of African citizens.