Africa’s Agenda 2063 as well as the Sustainable Development Goals acknowledge the place of knowledge management throughout the continuum of generation, storage, dissemination and utilisation. For Africa to sustainably develop, its governments, researchers, thinkers, academics, business and populace in general need true, scientific and comprehensive information about the countries’ economies, geography, politics and social aspects, among other areas of development.
This information can be used for development planning, policy formulation and/or monitoring and evaluation of the African development agenda. However, despite all its strides and potential for development, Africa still lacks an authentic and comprehensive home-grown source of data and information. In order to address this information gap, the African Union Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Book of African Records in December 2016 which mandated the latter to publish the Africa Factbook.
The Africa Factbook seeks to cover gaps in the field of knowledge management, particularly the absence of a comprehensive, reliable home-grown reference source on Africa by Africans. In essence, the Africa Factbook will serve as a reference source for useful facts about Africa and the African people for the purpose of information dissemination, education, entertainment, reference, statistics and documentation.
Zimbabwe’s Vice-President, H.E Constantino Chiwenga officially opened the Africa Factbook Stakeholders Consultative Conference organised in Harare, Zimbabwe, on 5 March, by the Book of African Records, the publishing company in charge of the project, in partnership with the African Union Commission and Research Council of Zimbabwe. He expressed discontent at the fact that, “A common challenge facing Africa is the lack of knowledge about the continent. It is disheartening that the story of Africa is usually told by non-Africans who often narrate it from their own perspectives.”
The CEO of the NEPAD Agency, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, was represented at the conference by Jennifer Chiriga, Advisor on Partnerships, and the following points were highlighted on the importance of the Factbook:
- The Africa Factbook as the missing link between the continent’s history and its legacy
- The Africa Factbook as the expression of change in Africa, illustrated by new data collection and a new narrative that reflects Africa’s diversity.
- The Africa Factbook will need to be rigorous in its research, for credibility and to deliver a product with well documented facts.
The Research Council of Zimbabwe will provide valuable support in moving this project forward. Through the lens of Agenda 2063, Africa’s transformative vision, the Africa FactBook will be an authentic publication by Africa and for Africa.
Source: NEPAD Agency