3 Ways data has made a splash in Africa


impactAFRICA, the continent’s largest fund for data driven storytelling, has announced the winners of its water and sanitation contest. Journalists from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa and Zambia made waves with their stories, but three in particular stood out against the tide.

1. South Africa All At Sea

Sipho Kings' story on illegal fishing along South Africa's coast for the Mail & Guardian shows how data from nanosatellites could solve the tricky problem of tracking illegal activities.

"At present, South Africa tracks ships through their automatic identification systems, which have to be kept on, by law. But illegal fishing vessels turn theirs off," he writes.

"This means it is down to a handful of 70-year-old surveillance planes based at Ysterplaat Air Force Base in Cape Town to find vessels."

As well as providing a data driven solution to South Africa's problem, this story has been credited with prompting increased naval patrols, which has uncovered a string of illegal fishing trawlers.

Read the story here.

2. Water Data for Nigeria

This tool, developed by Abiri Oluwatosin Niyi for CMapIT, tracks the supply and consumption of water in Nigeria. To combat a scarcity of data on public water resources, the project crowdsources data from citizens and water point operators. Data is updated in real-time and can be explored via an interactive map.


Image: Water Data for Nigeria.

In addition, the underlying data is also available for free download and reuse.

Explore the project here.

3. Ibadan: A City of Deep Wells and Dry Taps

Writing for the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, Kolawole Talabi demonstrates a relationship between declining oil revenues and government water expenditure in Ibadan, Nigeria's third largest city, with detrimental impacts on its inhabitants health.

The investigation draws on data from international organisations, like UNICEF, and government budgetary allocations, as well as qualitative interview data.

Following the story's publication, there has been extensive online debate and numerous calls for governmental action.

Read the story here.

Image: sama093.