As the world grapples with the unprecedented global health crisis of COVID-19, the United Nations is spearheading a digital hub to house information and knowledge resources to assist crucial development system partners in fighting the pandemic in Africa.
The virus has caused a global crisis affecting the core of humanity and the social, economic, environment and related spheres, and it is attacking societies indiscriminately. In Africa, the region’s fragile health systems and economic costs can derail the socio-economic development trajectory of the global Sustainable Development Goals and the regional Agenda 2063 aspirations.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) projects that Africa’s GDP growth will decrease by almost half to 1.8 per cent. In the region, COVID-19 is already disrupting millions of people’s livelihoods, with a disproportionate impact on poor households and small and informal businesses.
“Evidence-based information and data from credible sources will be key, not only to inform the COVID-19 response but also to aid the decision-making processes of governments, UN agencies and development partners to save the lives of people and economies. The Africa UN Knowledge Hub for COVID-19 will be a resource open to all users,” said Oliver Chinganya, Director of the African Centre for Statistics.
To mitigate the effects of the pandemic, the United Nations is responding to the crisis as One UN in terms of preparedness, response and provision of updates on the COVID-19 epidemiological situation. The Africa UN Knowledge Hub for COVID-19 is a one-stop shop for information and knowledge resources on the pandemic in Africa on strategies and responses by the regional UN Development System and Development Partners to support African governments to strengthen capacities to effectively respond to the pandemic. The translation of collective UN knowledge into strategic action can guide the efforts of all national and international partners to support national governments.
“This Africa UN Knowledge Hub for COVID-19 is an accessible and interactive repository of interventions, engagements and resources designed to support African governments as they grapple with the epidemiological, socio-economic and governance complexities of the deadly coronavirus,” said Raymond Gilpin, Chief Economist, UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa.
The portal will facilitate the regional UN Development System’s (UNDS) efforts to identify, select, organize, disseminate and transfer important information, knowledge and expertise that exists in the region. This will facilitate a quick response to specific national member state requests in support of Agenda 2030 and 2063, as well as enhance collaboration among the regional UNDS in knowledge management.
The Hub will focus on developing and providing knowledge services from the wider UN system using intelligent clustering and contextualization by leveraging both human and intelligent machine processes. In addition, the Hub will also provide an interactive platform for collaboration, consultation and networking on important issues for the development agenda on the continent.
ECA and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) co-convened this initiative together with all UNDS entities. The collaboration is under Strengthened integrated data and statistical systems for sustainable development (Opportunity/Issue Based Coalition 1) with technical expertise on the development of the Hub provided by ECA.
The Africa UN Knowledge Hub on COVID-19 is a living hub that will be updated regularly.