June 15

Viewpoint: Scientists Say Satellite Imagery and Machine Learning Advances Will Boost African Consumer Data

By Uwagbale Edward-Ekpu

Last month, the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) published a consumer spending report which is meant to be published every three to five years. But the previous one was published 10 years ago.

Of a population of 198 million people only 22,110 households where covered. The data was collected via door-to-door surveys requiring visits to rural communities which in many parts of the country are often difficult to access and sometimes not safe for researchers unfamiliar with the terrain.

This highlights the challenges with consumer data collection and availability in many African countries, leading to surveys which don’t include enough households to generate a reliable national statistical picture. National consumer data is not regularly published and much of the available data isn’t always up-to-date. As a result, many figures used for analyses and decision-making are extrapolated estimates, often unreliable. This makes it difficult for business, government, and development agencies to make good data-based decisions on the continent.

Photo courtesy of martinaH79.

Source: Quartz Africa (link opens in a new window)

Environment, Technology
artificial intelligence, rural development