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The Emergence of Africa’s Largest Data Center

  Jun 30, 2017

Strathmore Business School is soon set to host one of Africa’s largest Open Data Source Center, through a consortium of global partners. Strathmore University, through Strathmore Business School (SBS), will be the first institution to join the Global Partnerships for Sustainable Data Development. This partnership is expected to culminate in the launch of the Africa Media Hub, established for inauguration on 29th June 2017.

Prior to the Global Partnership for Sustainable Data event, Strathmore Business School in conjunction with Intelipro, Local Development Research Institute and the Ministry of Agriculture hosted a workshop on Open Data for De-Risking Financial Services for the Agricultural sector on 16th June 2017. This workshop aligns perfectly with the objectives of the G77 International Ministerial Conference on Open Data for Agricultural and Nutrition (GODAN) currently hosted by Kenya.

Agriculture has been described as the backbone of the Kenyan economy, contributing 35% of the gross earnings and 40% of its exports. While its contribution to the economy remains undoubtedly significant, the sector struggles with underpaid producers, poor income turnover from yields and most crucial, poor access to crediting facilities.

SBS Dean, Dr. George Njenga commented on the essence of translating information gathered through the Data Center in providing real-time solutions to local farmers, “Enhancing inclusivity as we set up the Data Center is crucial. Data gathered through the center must be accessible by ordinary farmers in means and modes that can help them mitigate risks and competitively improve the quality and quantity of their yields.”

Creditors in the financial sector have indicated risk mitigation as one of the major hindrances in lending to players in the sector. Harnessing analytical data to mitigate these risks is one of the most effective modes of growing the sector’s contribution to the economy. “The aim of this workshop is to catalyze discussions on how Kenya can leverage on data to improve access to financial services for smallholder farmers. De-risking the sector is important for the growth of the sector,” remarked Leonida Mutuku, Co-Founder Intelipro. 

The objectives of the Data Center are to:

  • Demonstrate that the data revolution is delivering at scale in Africa by leveraging significant commitments to strengthen data infrastructure, capacity and use in Africa.
  • Show that this combined package of commitments delivered by a unique combination of public and private sector players intends to revolutionise service delivery in Africa, spreading the reach of data driven development to the poorest and most remote communities and improving outcomes for all.
  • Bring the power of new technologies and innovations to some of the world’s oldest problems, demonstrate the power of partnership and provide new models for action in the era of the data revolution.
  • The data hub is also set to provide space for conceptualization of ideas and data driven solutions which will help solve real time challenges facing the public sector.

Data revolution will therefore play a great role in realization of sustainable development. Discussions on leveraging on the available data and how to maximize its use is key for informed decision making in various sectors.

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