Outcome note from the virtual roundtable 

Data in development dialogue: Findings and practices for effective support for statistical capacity and data in Africa (June 2021)

On 23 June 2021, the Bern Network on Financing Data for Development and the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC) jointly hosted a virtual roundtable for countries to share good practices and challenges to address data and statistics financing in development cooperation in Africa. Government officials from ministries in charge of planning and development cooperation, and representatives of national statistical offices (NSOs) from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Madagascar, Mali and Rwanda presented their structures and mechanisms for coordinating data financing in development cooperation and shed light on ways to more effectively resource data and statistics, both domestically and through support from development partners. The discussions were facilitated by members of the Bern Network and the GPEDC, including the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, PARIS21, the United Nations Development Program, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, and Open Data Watch (see Annex for full list of participants). 

The roundtable underscored the fact that, despite the importance of official statistics for sustainable development and the key role NSOs play in this context, data and statistics are underfunded globally and effective development cooperation can play an important role in addressing this challenge. Participants recognized the strong need for data financing to be integrated into national development and financing plans and shared insights on their country-specific cooperation structures and coordination mechanisms. 

In addition to presenting good practices, participants also shared capacity challenges they face when trying to strengthen national cooperation around development data and statistics. This ranged from foundational issues such as inconsistent political support and NSO capacities to practical challenges in building more holistic and coordinated national statistical plans that are aligned with the data interests of different stakeholders. 

The roundtable ended with a summary of key takeaways to achieve smarter financing for development data, which included a call for creating high-level coordination platforms, leveraging popular priority agendas to help include financing for data onto the agenda and the national budget, recognizing the value of data and data use, and improving the visibility and quality of aid for statistics. It also highlighted the value of peer exchanges to identify practices, strengthen cooperation and facilitate action by countries. 

This outcome note collects the key findings, country practices and next steps from the roundtable and aims to serve as a knowledge-sharing resource. These are based on the presentations given by participating countries along with additional context provided by the organizers. Finding will inform further activities and regional roundtables co-organized by the GPEDC and the Bern Network in 2022, including the development of principles for effective development cooperation on data and statistics as part of the GPEDC’s work area on Data and Statistics.