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Sub-Saharan Africa Must Embrace Data to Boost Growth—BCG

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have been urged to strive for improvements in the areas of data aggregation, developmental techniques and empowerment of people, to enable them to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) in the region by 2030.

This advice was given by the partner at Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Mr Tolu Oyekan, while highlighting the challenges that are hindering development in SSA countries and proffering possible solutions to address the numerous problems in the region.

“The UN has set a target of 2030 to reach the SDG’s goals and in effect, eliminate the developmental obstacles to growth and minimum livelihoods that hold back SSA and other countries around the world. For SSA, that is an ambitious deadline,” Mr Oyekan said.

He, however, suggested that for SSA countries to meet the set target, various governments and citizens must gather more and better data and utilize them more effectively.

He added that the governments must also increase and adjust the developmental techniques they employ to ensure they sufficiently address local concerns and issues while taking advantage of existing best practices, even from other disciplines.

Mr Oyekan noted that SSA must enlarge the tent to bring a wider and more diverse group of people into the design and implementation process.

The BCG Partner emphasized that when effectively used, data, developmental techniques and human capital can help SSA countries achieve meaningful developmental gains, thereby making the region more competitive.

According to him, statistics reflect that the region has an alarming poverty rate as about 40 per cent of sub-Saharan Africa, or over 400 million people, live on less than $1.90 a day, defined as the extreme poverty line.

He, however, stressed that good data from the SSA region is mandatory as that would enable the people to understand the prevailing challenges and conditions; and can also be used as a yardstick in comparing SSA countries with other countries of the world.

Mr Oyekan further pointed out that for meaningful development to be achieved, SSA countries must implement developmental techniques and methods that are aligned with unique regional needs.

“For instance, behavioural techniques can encourage desirable actions by sub-Saharan individuals and groups, which in turn can help in local development,” he said.

While speaking in terms of people, Oyekan appealed for a push to increasingly widen the participation of African people in the campaigns to solve Africa’s problems.

He believes that stakeholders are pivotal for the success of SSA developmental efforts; noting that these stakeholders include women, young people, the bottom of the economic pyramid, the private sector and small businesses.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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