Government delegates from French-speaking African countries met to discuss the importance of open data in economic and social development.
The Francophone Africa Open Data Community (Communauté d’Afrique francophone sur les données ouvertes, CAFDO) is an association created in 2017 by partners from 23 French-speaking African countries. The aim of the community is to advocate for better monitoring, access and use of data in Francophone African countries.
Following a first meeting in 2017, CAFDO met for the second time in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, from 17-19 December, 2019. Representatives of governments, international development organisations, civil society organisations and research institutions gathered around to discuss the theme of ‘Open Data: from principles to action’ in order to promote open data in the French-speaking countries of West Africa.
In partnership with GODAN, CTA contributed to the organisation of this second event and supported the participation of partners from the following countries in sharing experiences and taking part in workshops: Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Tunisia. Two partners from Senegal and four from Burkina Faso also received support to take part in the meeting. Raising farmers’ awareness about open data, especially the development of codes of conduct, is one of the objectives of CTA’s Data4Ag project.
A joint declaration
Discussions centred around several regional initiatives, including the Sahel Data Initiative, a project supported by GODAN, as well as a declaration on open data based on the 2017 Nairobi Declaration, to be ratified at the next high-level meeting in 2020. The declaration supports the use of ICTs to improve productivity in the rural sector of CILSS member countries and to strengthen synergies between different regional initiatives in the agricultural sector. The declaration by the Ministers of Agriculture and high-level representatives of CILSS member governments includes the following recommendations:
- Strengthen South-South cooperation and three-way collaboration through capacity building, technology transfer and the sharing of experience.
- Commit to more inclusive agriculture, especially among marginal communities, young people and women.
- Encourage the countries in the region, as well as donors, to invest more in the agricultural sector and the use of digital technology to support the policies of CILSS member countries.
- Commit to establishing a mechanism within the CILSS to monitor progress in these areas at the national and regional level.
- Endorse the use of digital technology to facilitate greater integration and effective synergies between existing and future regional initiatives in the agri-food sector in CILSS member countries.
- Call on WFP, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa and other partners to support the governments of Francophone West Africa in providing adequate, accurate and reliable data for agriculture and nutrition.
- Call on GODAN and its partners to provide technical support to strengthen the use of data in the development of policies and support systems for the agri-food sector.
Towards regional collaborations around open data
Through the CAFDO meeting, GODAN and CTA sought to raise awareness of open data issues, to promote the development of open data policies among participating policymakers – including through future collaborations at regional and national levels – and ultimately, to benefit farmers in Francophone West Africa through this shared and newly developed expertise.
Further information on open data and data management has been produced in French by CTA and is available on CGSpace.