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Africa Data Leadership Initiative


The Africa Data Leadership Initiative (ADLI) is a ​peer learning and exchange network designed by and for African policymakers, legislators, researchers, technologists, and digital rights advocates working on data governance and digital platforms and services.

ADLI enables participants to engage peers within and across borders, to develop solutions to critical operational and policy challenges associated with ensuring the data economy meets African aspirations. This is achieved through:  

  • Establishing a shared framework through which to examine critical choices in the design of a data-sharing environment that maximizes participation, agency, choice, and trust in the broader digital ecosystem; 
  • Building knowledge and accelerating the diffusion of best practices related to trusted data sharing, both within public sector functions (such as digital identity and digital payments) and to fuel private sector innovation;
  • Facilitating access to trusted mentors and advisors, drawing from both global subject matter experts and peers to ensure network members can access vetted information and credible, neutral advice; and
  • Supporting cross-government approaches to trusted data sharing by developing and disseminating shared resources, breaking down project-based silos, and enabling the cross-pollination of data sharing principles and practices – ultimately leading to data governance decision-making that is anchored in a shared vision for the digital future.

ADLI in context

African policymakers have an opportunity to define a bespoke approach to data governance that ensures data produced on the continent drives local innovation, enhances public services, and fuels equitable growth while also protecting critical rights such as privacy. Importantly, no country or region has yet found the right mix of policy, law, regulation and technology to safely “unlock” data for the benefit of all. This strategic gap creates an opportunity for Africa, where the confluence of rapid digitization and efforts to implement the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, African Union Data Policy Framework and African Union Digital Transformation Strategy are building momentum for African countries to chart their own course as a common digital market. Defining a unified approach to trusted data sharing, both within and across borders, is central to ensuring data generated in Africa fuels the growth and innovation required to meet the aspirations of Africans.  

ADLI helps African countries meet this moment by building a strong base of expertise across the continent to safely unlock the value of data for prosperity and social advancement. ADLI is a strategic complement to broader, ongoing efforts to develop a data governance approach for all of Africa towards implementing the comprehensive data policy framework for the continent.

ADLI participants form a growing, dynamic community of expert-practitioners across Africa working on similar data-related challenges, both within their own countries but also translating their insights into a shared approach across the continent. To further this cohesion, representatives of key regional institutions and networks join the country delegations participating in the network as official observers. Network members will have access to an online collaboration platform where they can access curated content and engage directly with peers. This members-only platform creates a “safe space” to encourage candid interactions and link network participants to expertise and carefully vetted content.

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African governments are invited to nominate participants and suggest data-related topics around which tailored virtual learning events and online discussion forums for ongoing engagement and peer exchange will be organized.​ To express interest to join or request for more information, please reach out to

Partner stewards

Smart Africa Alliance

A bold and innovative commitment from African Heads of State and Government to accelerate sustainable socio-economic development on the continent, ushering Africa into a knowledge economy through affordable access to Broadband and usage of Information and Communications Technologies.

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One of the UN's five regional commissions, the UN Economic Commission for Africa promotes the economic and social development of its 54 member States, foster intra-regional integration, and promote international cooperation for Africa's development.

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