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ESTDEV partners with GIZ to support data governance in Africa


Working together as members of Team Europe, the Estonian Centre for International Development (ESTDEV) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH have signed a grant agreement to support Data Governance in Africa.

The Data Governance in Africa Initiative aims to support the development of a fair and inclusive data economy and society in sub-Saharan Africa as part of the EU Global Gateway Strategy in collaboration with the African Union.

“Five European countries, along with the EU Commission have pooled their funding for the joint implementation of the Data Governance in Africa Initiative. Leveraging the data revolution is strategically important for our African partner’s development plans,” said Franz von Weizsäcker, project manager for Data Governance in Africa at GIZ African Union.

“Each implementing organisation contributes its unique strengths: ESTDEV focuses on digital development, building on Estonia’s success, while GIZ leverages its strong partnerships and physical presence in 39 African countries. We are thrilled to collaborate with ESTDEV on this project,” von Weizsäcker added.

The overall objective of this project is to support the development-oriented and human-centric data economy and society in Africa by enhancing capacity and access to upscaling opportunities of regional and national institutions, civil society organisations and Digital Social Innovations (DSIs).

“Effective data governance is essential for all countries to harness the full potential of digitalisation. This project will empower stakeholders across Sub-Saharan Africa to leverage data responsibly, foster innovation and ensure inclusive growth," said Andres Ääremaa, Programme Manager for Digital Transformation at ESTDEV. “By supporting this initiative, we can unlock a new era of data-driven development that benefits all citizens.”

ESTDEV’s activities will be divided into two main workflows: 

“When we design our projects, we strive to focus on human centricity. This is also the case in digitalisation and entrepreneurship. This project is an excellent opportunity to take local data-driven ideas to the next level and to positively impact the society at the centre of these innovations. I believe this uniquely focused project will be the catalyst for ideas and services that will make a real difference in people’s lives,” said Katrin Winter, ESTDEV’s regional head for Africa.

According to the grant agreement, ESTDEV will manage a fund of 895,000 euros to implement project activities. Of that amount, 645,000 euros will be contributed by GIZ and 250,000 by ESTDEV.

What is digital social innovation

Digital social innovation uses data analysis to develop innovative technology-driven solutions. It addresses societal challenges and achieves positive impacts through digital implementation, skill enhancement, and data optimisation, ultimately driving sustainable economic growth. Digital social innovation addresses fields like e-health, digital inclusion, and climate change.

The proposed activities will directly contribute to the Team Europe Initiative for the D4D Digital Economy and Society in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Data Governance in Africa Initiative has been made possible by financial support from the European Union and five EU Member States (Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, and Germany) as part of the EU Global Gateway Strategy. It will be implemented by Digital Africa, Enabel, ESTDEV, HAUS, Expertise France and GIZ.