A look at International Data Week 2018, Gaborone, Botswana | 5-8 November 2018

International Data Week (IDW2018) was held in November in Gaborone (Botswana), co-organised by the ISC World Data System (WDS), the ISC Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA), the Research Data Alliance (RDA), the University of Botswana and the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf). It included SciDataCon 2018, the 12th plenary meeting of the Research Data Alliance (RDA) and the pre-conference meetings of the RDA Agricultural Data Interest Group (IGAD). Pascal Bonnet (Cirad & International Relations #DigitAg) represented #DigitAg and led the round table on data collection in Africa by the RDA Agriculture group, with colleagues from Botswana and Kenya. He reviews this event.


RDA Agriculture group


Panel Session on Data collection in Africa: State of the art, Challenges & Solutions

Moderated by Pascal Bonnet (Cirad, #DigitAg France), the round table involved:

  • Mr Majola Mabuza, Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU)
    Mr Mabuza presented the position of the SACAU, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which includes 16  Southern African and Indian Ocean countries. The SACAU encourages the development of information services among its members.
  • Mr Mompati Solomon, beef cattle rancher in Botswana and agro-economist
    Mr Solomon presented the position of livestock farmers, who use data-based services, especially climate and market services.
  • Pr. Malope, Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis (BIDPA), researcher (economist).
    Mr Malope presented the position of public policy analysts, who use open data for evaluation, for whom the quality of data is a source of concern.
  • Mr Boniface Akuku, Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), ICT Director, Developer.
    Mr Boniface Akuku presented the position of developers of ICT solutions and applications within KALRO.
    KALRO develops numerous applications for farmers and livestock breeders in Kenya, digital mediation that mainly focuses on guides to good practice in crop and livestock production. Mr Akuku won a European Commission award for the development of an application for livestock farmers in Kenya (see http://www.fao.org/3/i9235en/I9235EN.pdf).


Several fields of application for information services to aid decision making by actors in these sectors were mentioned during the round table in the context of this region.

  • Information and services data for animal health and crop protection
  • Information and services data on agro-climatic services
  • Information and services data on markets, business intelligence
  • Information and services data for the traceability of agricultural products in long supply chains (international trade) and short chains, to improve consumer confidence
  • Information and services data for nutritional information


The broader issue of data sharing between data producers was addressed, and the limiting factors are summarised in the word cloud. The key message is the issue of privacy, in other words the conditions for data sharing between data producers.

  • This echoes the work of #DigitAg in the legal and HSS fields, as well as OFEs (On Farm Experiments), where experimentation data is often shared between members of a cooperative or an association that already exists.
  • It also echoes a presentation by two Australian lawyer colleagues on the subject “Opening access to data: how to balance open access and privacy rights” (Leanne Wiseman (Griffith University, Australia) l.wiseman@griffith.edu.au and Jay Sanderson, (USC, Australia) Jsander4@USC.edu.au)


More information:

Download communications:

  • Bonnet P. Panel session on data collection in Africa: «State of the art, challenges & solutions». Interest Group on Agricultural Data (IGAD) Meeting, Gaborone (Botswana), 5-6 November 2018. F1000Research 2018, 7:1800 (slides) – doi: 10.7490/f1000research.1116298.1
  • Bonnet P. “Role of competence centers (research) and open science movement in the framework of digital innovation hubs in agriculture, example of the #DigitAg Convergence Lab.” Gaborone (Botswana), 5-6 November 2018. F1000Research 2018, 7:1803 (slides) – doi: 10.7490/f1000research.1116300.1


RDA’s Interest & Working Groups

Interest groups IGhttps://www.rd-alliance.org/groups/interest-groups

Working groups WGhttps://www.rd-alliance.org/groups/working-groups