Jan 18 , 2020

When it goes online within half a year, a new portal will allow any individual with an internet connection to explore and download data on development indicators.

Developed by a team of five experts from the Technology & Innovation Institute over the past year, the National Development Indicators Dashboard (NDID) will be overseen, monitored and regulated by the National Planning & Development Commission.

Reaching 90pc completion, the system will be tasked with collecting, organising, storing and communicating development indicators for four clusters, namely social, economic, macroeconomic and good governance. Each cluster has Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), which measure the value that demonstrates how effectively a sector is achieving its key objectives with automated reporting.

The portal is essential, since the country does not have an organised system that offers accurate and reliable data, according to Gebre Alamne, team leader of the National Development Indicator Dashboard at the Institute.

"It will help the government identify gaps, make informed decisions and suggest ways forward," he said, "after finalising the process, the dashboard will be open to the public in five months."

Gebre also said that the portal would be used to accelerate the new 10-year plan, which the Commission is currently designing, supported by organised and profound information.

Under social clusters, there are development indicators for educational training, women and children, green development, science and technology, culture and tourism, and health. Under health, for instance, development indicators include HIV prevalence, death and birth rate, reproductive health and access to health coverage.

The economic cluster incorporates rural development and food security, industrial development, logistics, energy, information and communication. The macroeconomic cluster has economic growth and poverty reduction, economic and structural change, domestic finance and investment development, and foreign trade development under its umbrella. Good governance has sections on capacity building and developing a democratic culture under it.

Under each cluster, there is a description, graph, table and percentage of data. For instance, in the economic indicator, GDP, annual growth rate, per capita income, the balance of trade, unemployment, and interest and inflation rates are included.

Ministries are obliged to collect and organise data and information and submit it to the Commission, which will be uploaded to the dashboard after verifying the data. Once everything is uploaded and online, the ministries and institutions will be provided with a password and can upload, delete and update data and information.

The system enables efficient reporting, monitoring, and evaluation methods to be managed at one centre, according to Sandakan Debebe, director-general of the Institute.

It will also provide organised and structured information and data to policymakers, lawmakers, researchers, and various service providers.

‘‘Getting the right data to the right people at the right time enables ministries to make better-informed decisions faster,’’ Sandokan told Fortune.

Tadele Ferede (PhD), an associate professor at Addis Abeba University, believes in the importance of the portal to provide accurate data. Still, he says that an independent body should verify the reports and figures. He adds that data could not be trusted if the portal is operated under the framework of the government.

"The Central Statistical Agency should provide standardised and accurate data, he recommends.

Yonatan Kelem, IT expert and a lecturer at Haromaya University, also believes that having the system will result in knowledge exchange but recommends the Commission provide constant and timely updates.

"As the system moves from a manual system into a digital one," said Yonatan, "new information should be monitored and updated on time."

PUBLISHED ON Jan 18,2020 [ VOL 20 , NO 1029]

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