Navigating administrative data access: strategies, reasons, and partner perspectives
The United Nations World institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER), the National Treasury of South Africa, the Spatial Economic Activity Data South Africa, and the Southern African Towards Economic Development (SA-TIED) programme, with other key stakeholders, will host an exclusive capacity development initiative from 4 – 8 December 2023 at the Statistics South Africa offices in Pretoria, South Africa. Titled “Navigating administrative data access: strategies, reasons, and partner perspectives” this capacity development initiative will bring together government officials from southern and east Africa for a transformative programme.
The capacity development initiative, facilitated by the UK Office for National Statistics (UK- ONS), focuses on enabling attendees to handle and protect administrative data for its application in policy research. The initiative forms part of two UNU-WIDER programmes, namely the SA-TIED programme and the Domestic Revenue Mobilization (DRM) programme which aim to improve policymaking by making tax administrative data accessible to researchers.
By inviting over 100 senior officials from various government institutions, ministries of finance and tax authorities across the region, the partners seek to showcase the effectiveness of the various programmes and support the establishment of similar evidence-based policy-making approaches in the represented countries – South Africa, Zambia, Uganda, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Rwanda. The selected countries either have a centralised data lab facility for research purposes, have expressed interest in establishing one, or are actively participating in capacity-development and research initiatives using tax data for evidence-based policymaking.
Engagement, outputs, and impact
The theme of this capacity development initiative is data access, and the training provides a unique collaboration opportunity with the UK-ONS. It has a strong emphasis on supporting the various stakeholders to enhance their data centers' capacity, securely broaden access to microdata for third parties, and establish international best practices. This initiative provides a unique platform for networking, idea sharing, and fostering collaboration among participants. The expected outputs are not limited to the training sessions alone; they encompass the establishment of a network of experts and collaborators who can continue to exchange ideas and best practices long after the event concludes.
The capacity development activities are further expected to:
- Foster discussions on UK and international best practices for secure data access and protection, providing valuable insights to various high-level invitees
- Introduce training approaches to support data privacy protection and the efficient functioning of data centers
- Emphasize the importance of instilling confidence and trust among data suppliers and the public by transparently protecting data and privacy
- Delve into the details of establishing safe and secure environments for researcher data access, including principles, policies, training, and monitoring, for existing and future infrastructure
- Raise awareness on various modes of data access to align the vision of increased data accessibility