Johnson Sirleaf Challenges Africa To Invest In Data Infrastructure


Johnson Sirleaf
Johnson Sirleaf

The Former President of Liberia and a Member of Afrobarometer’s International Advisory Council HE President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, says timely data is critical to the success of African development and policy decision-making. 

According to her, gathering data from diverse populations across the continent helps inform evidence-based decision-making and contributes to developing policies and programs that respond to the needs and aspirations of African citizens.

Data can be used to monitor the state of democracy in African countries, identify areas for improvement, and hold governments accountable for their actions.

The Former President of Liberia made this remark at the 2023 Afrobarometer’s Planning Meeting held at Aqua Safari in Ada, in her keynote address  themed: “Timely Data in the Context of African Development and Policy Decision Making.”

By promoting transparency and accountability, your work helps to strengthen democratic institutions and promote political stability in Africa.

“In Africa, the need for timely data has become increasingly important in recent years. With the continent experiencing significant economic growth and development, data has become an essential tool for policymakers and development practitioners seeking to track progress, identify areas for intervention, and make informed decisions that can impact the lives of millions of people.

The importance of data in the context of African development and policy decision-making is critical to formulating evidence-based policies, and the importance of timely data cannot be overstated,” she stated.

According to her, despite data’s importance, Africa has long faced significant challenges in accessing and utilizing timely data.

These challenges have hindered the continent’s ability to effectively monitor progress, identify gaps, and take corrective action when needed.

In many cases, the lack of timely data has led to the implementation of ineffective policies, the misallocation of resources, and the perpetuation of inequalities.

“We need not look far to see examples of this – Afrobarometer, for over 20 years, has been conducting general aptitude surveys across the continent.

Your work is of great importance because it provides valuable data on public opinion, political attitudes, and socioeconomic issues crucial for policymakers, CSOs, researchers, and other stakeholders in understanding African countries’ challenges and opportunities,” she applauded.

Professor Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, Afrobarometer co-founder and Board Chair, also affirmed that Afrobarometer will continue to work closely with other research groups 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.

Additionally, Afrobarometer will continue to provide high-quality data and analysis on citizens’ evaluations and experiences of democratic governance and quality of life to help champion the cause of development.

In a speech read on her behalf Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hon Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, applauded Afrobarometer for the tremendous role they have played in the political discourse by making people’s voices significant in policy initiatives and decision-making at the continental and global level.

“Afrobarometer had become a household name in the Continent’s quest for transparent and accountable governance,” She applauded.

The Chief Executive Officer of Afrobarometer, Mr Joseph Asunka, noted that the data they produce are a public good, and are 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.

More so, the Round 10 Planning Meeting brought together scores of Afrobarometer’s Core Partners, National Partners from up to 40 African countries, and Supporting Units to design the upcoming round of surveys.

The five-day planning meeting would involve plenary and working-group sessions to discuss and design survey instruments and methodologies, data quality assurance measures, and results dissemination strategies.


About Afrobarometer

Afrobarometer is a pan-African, nonpartisan survey research network that provides reliable data on African experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance, and quality of life. Guided by the vision that African societies thrive when African voices count in public policy and development, Afrobarometer provides high-quality data and analysis on citizens’ evaluations and experiences of democratic governance and quality of life.

Eight survey rounds in up to 39 countries have been completed since 1999, Round 9 surveys (2021/2023) are rounding off, and preparations have begun for the 10 th Round of surveys.

Source: Isaac Kofi Dzokpo/

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