New Data Science Project Launched to Transform Africa's Data Landscape  


Addis Ababa February 20 /2024 (ENA) The African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) has launched today a new data project titled ‘Data Science Without Borders’ (DSWB), with the objective to transform Africa’s data landscape.  

The three-year project, launched  at a ceremony held at the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Addis Ababa, seeks to make a significant impact by bridging data gaps, strengthening data systems, and enhancing collaboration for data-driven decision-making in Africa. 

The Wellcome Trust will provide funding for a project worth 5 million USD that is expected to improve reuse and use of data science techniques in Ethiopia, Senegal, and Cameroon, with plans to expand to other member nations of the African Union.

The project focuses on developing and improving data analytics skills using robust artificial intelligence tools and capacity building of national teams on machine learning. 

Speaking at the event, the DSWB Project Lead and Head of Data Science Program, Agnes Kiragga said this launch marks the initiation of a collaborative journey aimed at empowering stakeholders and paving the way for a successful and impactful data science initiative. 

“This initiative is cognizant of the barriers to effective democratic  artificial intelligence and machine learning including lack of data, inadequate data  collection infrastructure, limited processes to support data access, including challenges in  data collection regulations, storage infrastructure, financial barriers, and lack of data  scientists with domain expertise, especially in the resource-limited nations across sub Saharan Africa (SSA).” 

Moreover, the project developed to strengthen data systems in African health institutions will  develop a federated no-code platform for deploying machine learning models used by actors in the selected countries, and create a sustainable environment for a collaborative, replicable, and transferable application of data science tools. 

“By understanding partner countries' unique challenges and opportunities, we strive to ensure that the DSWB project makes a lasting and positive contribution to the field of data science,” she elaborated. 

Head of Data Synergy and Evaluations at APHRC, Damazo Kadengye said on his part this project lays a foundation for us to contribute to the building of data systems across African continent. Moreover, it will create opportunities on how we can connect with the governments, especially in supporting them to improve data systems across the continent.

“It is very important because it helps us inform policy and planning using evidence that we generate through this project as it is also aligned with AU data policy framework,"   the head stated. 

The collaborative project housed under APHRC‘s Data Science Program is being conducted  with other implementing partner organizations: The Alan Turing Institute, Armauer Hansen  Research Institute (AHRI), the Institute for Health Research, Epidemiological Surveillance and  Training (IRESSEF), Douala General Hospital, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine  (LSHTM), and the Committee on Data (CODATA). 

The African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) is a premier research-to-policy institution, generating evidence, strengthening research and related capacity in the African research and development ecosystem, and engaging policy to inform action on health and development. 

The Center is Africa-based and African-led, with its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, and a West Africa Regional Office in Dakar, Senegal. 

Ethiopian News Agency