Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)


Encompassing the area of the African continent below the Saharan Desert, and subsequently the vast majority of Africa’s landmass, this region is home to an astonishing amount of geographic diversity, ranging from deserts and savannas to tropical rainforests. Commonly divided into 4 sub regions, SSA is home to over a billion people, who comprise a vast multitude of ethnic, cultural and linguistic groups. Although the region is growing economically at an impressive rate, it still faces many development challenges. These include some of the world’s highest and most concentrated rates of poverty, gender inequalities, political instability and the ever-increasing threat of climate change.


OPAL for Humanitarian Action

After being selected to participate in WFP Humanitarian Innovation Accelerator Programme  (HIAP), DPA has developed a project aimed at improving anticipatory action and response to climate-induced disasters in Senegal using OPAL for Humanitarian Action (OPAL4HA) by:

  • Integrating diverse data sources such as call detail records (CDRs), earth observation (EO) data, qualitative data (surveys and interviews), official statistics, and user data to provide a holistic view of the crisis.
  • Developing and testing the data model focusing on predictive analytics and pre-processed indicators of human displacement induced by climate shocks.
  • Developing a user-friendly query interface powered by Generative AI to facilitate the creation of insights and timely indicators from data at high spatial resolution.
  • Automatically generated reports to rapidly share progress with key stakeholders.
  • Refining and improving the platform through community inputs and outreach messaging directed at affected communities.

The project was presented at the United Nations STI Forum in May 2024 in New York, alongside other initiatives supported by HIAP. More details about the event can be accessed here.

Development of Ghana’s National Data Strategy

Data-Pop Alliance, in partnership with Smart Africa, is developing a national data strategy in line with the country’s priorities in terms of sustainable development, promotion of innovation, the creation of value and, above all, digital sovereignty.

The general objectives are: (i) Promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including by strengthening data partnerships and local capacities; (ii) Promoting good governance in general, and data governance, data sharing and collaboration with the private sector; (iii) Supporting better targeting and use of development data; (iv) Promoting research and innovation in the field of data, academia, new businesses, etc., and (v) Developing data skills.

Study of the Drivers of Sustainable and Inclusive Development (DoD) in Liberia
Increasing and Strengthening the Availability of Digital Sexual and Reproductive Health Services with Youth-Friendly Approaches in Latin America
In partnership with Fòs Feminista, DPA conducted a consultancy with the objective of updating Fòs Feminista‘ subject knowledge, with a focus on digital sexual and reproductive health services implemented by their partners in the LATAM, Africa, and Asia regions, as well as to generate an analysis of the different strategies and methodologies used to apply a youth-friendly approach in delivering sexual and reproductive health services digitally. 
Climate-Induced Migration in Africa and Beyond: Big Data and Predicative Analytics (CLIMB)

In Senegal, under the Belmont Forum-funded project “Climate-Induced Migration in Africa and Beyond: Big Data and Predictive Analytics” (CLIMB), DPA and its academic and civil society partners used “traditional” and “non traditional” data sources, including mobile phone data, to study human mobility induced by extreme weather events. This project, enabled by OPAL technology, integrated Call Detail Records (CDRs) provided in partnership by Orange-Sonatel, were layered with earth observation, social media, survey, and official statistical data. This comprehensive approach enabled a detailed analysis of migration processes, shedding light on the influence of multilevel factors like climate, social, economic, sociological, and cultural aspects.

Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Identifying Intervention Points to Tackle Disinformation in Senegal and Burkina Faso

DPA developed a comprehensive ecosystem approach to address the multifaceted nature of disinformation. Recognizing the need to examine disinformation beyond social media, our methodology considers the interconnected networks of online influencers, traditional media, and groups weaponizing (dis)information for socio-political purposes. We also investigated. the underlying economic, political, and social motivations driving the weaponization of disinformation by powerful groups or individuals, and allowing a narrative to be anchored in society. This approach enabled us to pinpoint the most effective interventions points within the (dis)information cycle in Senegal and Burkina Faso, providing valuable insights and recommendations, particularly concerning the role of bilateral aid agencies such as AFD.

The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation Data Feminism Grant

The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation (PJMF) awarded DPA’s Data Feminism Program a twelve-month, $300,000 grant to support our work advancing intersectional, data-driven research, training and advocacy to continue fostering gender equality across Latin America and the Caribbean, the MENA region and Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2023, the grant was renewed for $400,000 to continue supporting existing and new Data Feminism Initiatives, including the Book and Movie Club, “Technology Through Feminist Lenses.”

Development and Launch of a Data-Driven Platform

DPA is developing a data-driven tool that will provide the Mastercard Foundation (MCF) with access to key information on global and regional trends relevant to its work in Africa. This tool will support the foundation’s future investment decisions with an evidence-based and system-change approach. Additionally, the tool will grow the organizational awareness and understanding of  issues shaping important social debates in Africa.

Assessing Africa’s Borderlands Informal Social Protection Mechanisms in Liberia and Sierra Leone

This study, supported by the UNDP’s Country Offices in Liberia and Sierra Leone, developed a deep understanding of the existing informal social protection mechanisms and community development needs in the borderlands of Sierra Leone and Liberia. DPA adopted an inductive ethnographic approach consisting of qualitative methods complemented with quantitative data collection to identify borderland community needs and trends, covariate shocks faced and coping mechanisms, as well as the inclusion and exclusion factors. The outputs and findings of the study informed government and UNDP programmatic interventions aimed at strengthening the resilience of these communities.

Big Data to Address Global Development Challenges (Paper Series)

Four research papers were developed in collaboration with and funded by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) between 2016 and 2019 under a joint program with Data-Pop Alliance and research partners (Cloud to Street, Flowminder, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, MIT Media Lab, Overseas Development Institute) titled “Strengthening the evidence-base for leveraging Big Data to address global development challenges”. This research program and papers were designed with the following objectives and criteria in mind: to focus on various development challenges in different local contexts to ensure relevance; to work with trusted partners to ensure academic quality; and to both reflect and promote key determinants of sustainable development, including smoother, fairer, and safer access to data and stronger links between analysts, local decision-makers, and communities. Individually, these papers outlined specific cases and examples of how computational analysis of behavioral data (combined with other datasets) can paint a finer-grained, more complex, and dynamic picture of human reality than ‘traditional’ data allows. Collectively, they sketched the contours of a world where public decisions, in the form of policies and programs, might someday be designed, implemented, and evaluated using the best available data and approaches.

Assessing the Socioeconomic Impact of COVID-19 on Agriculture, Food Security, Livelihoods, and Food Systems in Liberia

With the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Liberia and the European Union, and in collaboration with the Government of Liberia, DPA assessed the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19 on agriculture, food security, livelihoods, and food systems in the country. The report combined key insights from the literature with primary and secondary data source analysis (including the use of microsimulations, multiple regression analysis, and key informant interviews). DPA designed a specific methodological framework to analyze the COVID-19 impacts from a holistic perspective.

Socioeconomic Impact Assessment of COVID-19 and the Role of Disaster Risk Governance in the Western Sahel and Lake Chad Basin

In partnership with the UNDP Regional Office and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), DPA and ADE conducted assessments of the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 and the role of disaster risk governance (DRG) in seven countries of the Western Sahel and Lake Chad Basin (Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Mali, Mauritania, and Senegal). The study analyzed the impacts of the pandemic on macroeconomic health, human development, political governance, peace, and social cohesion, as well as the role of DRG institutions at the regional and national levels. The assessment utilized mixed methods with qualitative and quantitative data collection to produce seven country-level analyses, a regional comparative study, and a policy brief.

Rapid Assessment of COVID-19 Impact and Roadmap for Recovery in Liberia

In partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and ADE, the objective of this project was to conduct a rapid assessment of the  socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic (and its mitigation measures) in Liberia. The study was produced as part of a project analyzing the implications of COVID-19 on pre-existing macro and micro-economic, human development, and governance vulnerabilities. Based on the findings of the rapid assessment and in partnership with the UN Country Team in Liberia, a set of recommendations was developed to chart the roadmap for the short and long-term recovery process to build back better, leaving no one behind. This rapid assessment study aimed to provide the necessary evidence and inputs to inform and guide the relevant COVID-19 interventions and response efforts of the UN agencies, the Government, and other development partners.

Socioeconomic Impact Assessment of COVID-19 in Equatorial Guinea

In partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), ADE, and following the formal request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this project aimed to evaluate the initial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country. Through rapid macroeconomic and fiscal analysis, sectoral analysis (agriculture, tourism, ICT, education, and health), and analysis of socioeconomic vulnerability and expected impacts of the crisis on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), DPA produced a report with key recommendations to help the country recover and reduce vulnerability (applicable to subregions). DPA’s work focused on understanding the effects of COVID-19 and coordinating a response based on five pillars: 1) putting health first; 2) protecting people through social protection and basic services; 3) promoting social cohesion and community resilience; 4) supporting the macroeconomic response, and 5) fostering multilateral collaboration. All of this was done with the objective of advancing towards the SDGs, with the premise of leaving no one behind.


Rapid Assessment of COVID-19 Impacts During the Pandemic in Togo [Analyse synthétique des effets principaux de la COVID au Togo]

In order to identify the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in Togo, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and ADE, Data-Pop Alliance offered a synthetic analysis of the main impacts of the crisis in the country with a focus on the sector’s development priorities before the pandemic, using the most recent analyzes, studies and more recent data. The aim was to examine both quantitative and qualitative data available from the country; focusing on economy (SMEs and informal sector), social protection, basic services, food security; all with a transversal gender perspective. Particularly, the project’s report examined the situation before COVID-19 and identified its main effects and impacts; examined the content and conclusions of studies carried out on the impact of COVID-19, and raised the limits and/or potential deviations; analyzed how the limits in classical data can be complemented by data from alternative sources.

To read the report, click the button below (Available in French)


The second part of this project focused specifically on conducting a mobility analysis during the COVID-19 pandemic in Togo. During this crisis, the Togolese government decided to introduce mobility restriction measures to prevent the spread of the virus. The resulting analysis used innovative data sources to characterize the changes in mobility patterns that followed the introduction of these measures. In this case, mobility data from Google and Facebook was used to measure changes during and after the implementation of mobility restrictions between February 15 and August 9, 2020, in each of the regions in Togo. In general, this study aimed to (1) characterize the changes in mobility over time by type of mobility, particularly in residential areas and towards workplaces, (2) present the changes in mobility that resulted after curfew relief and lifting, and (3) understand mobility interconnections between regions. Limitations, assumptions, and recommendations were formulated based on the observations.

To read the report, click the button below (Available in French)

Socioeconomic Assessment of the Impacts and Implications of COVID-19 in South Sudan

With the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and in partnership with ADE, this paper assessed both the direct and indirect effects of the pandemic in the country and identified implications for the donor community, including the UN System. First, it looked at macroeconomic and fiscal prospects, noting a dearth of options in the absence of sustained structural changes; then at the effects of COVID-19 on human development; the virus’s interplay with peacebuilding and state-building dynamics; and lastly, assessments of possible ways forward were discussed.

The African Union-European Union (AU-EU) Data Economies

In collaboration with the European Union and the African Union, and support from German development agency GIZ, DPA developed an overview of the Data Economy Framework between Europe and Africa in a concise report focused on the potential of the data economy in Africa, and its potential to boost the African-European data market exchange. The final report discussed the landscape of the African data economy and mapped the potential fields of common interest between the African and European Unions. It further synthesized findings from recent in-depth studies, as well as from indices on inclusive internet, affordability drivers and network readiness.

Technical Assistance Facility for Africa-EU Relations in the Field of Economic Development

DPA supported INTPA Headquarters (HQ) in its strategic approach to Africa-EU relations by providing technical assistance through policy material, including study, analysis and policy briefings, to strengthen the service’s capacity in “knowledge-based” policymaking, taking into account EU political interests towards Africa, as well as relevant existing legally-binding agreements, political declarations and strategic documents. The main objective of the technical assistance facility was to provide the service with reliable and comprehensive policy material on Africa-EU relations in: (1) Transport and Infrastructures, (2) Digital technologies and services, (3) Sustainable Energy and climate change and (4) Private sector and Trade. The project was funded by OCA Global Consulting and Technical Advisory Services.

Strategic Assessment of the European Commission’s Work in Digitalization in Sub-Saharan Africa

This study, produced in collaboration with ADE, assessed the European Union’s external cooperation for development in the cross-cutting field of digitalization in SSA, with a view to issuing a series of lessons learnt and recommendations to inform current and future cooperation work. In particular, this evaluation focuses on understanding and analyzing DEVCO’s investments and projects in the region, the extent to which these projects are strategically promoting the pillars, objectives and values of the EU frameworks, and to identify complementarities or (lack thereof) with other relevant national, regional and international stakeholders.

Landscape Mapping and Review of Technology-Based Interventions to Address Child Marriage and Female Genital Mutilation Across 13 Countries in Asia and Africa

The need to end child marriage and FGM has never been greater –without accelerated progress to end both of these harmful practices, millions of women and girls across the globe will continue to be in danger. DPA, in collaboration with UNICEF and UNFPA, conducted a comprehensive landscape mapping and review of key technology-based interventions to address child marriage and FGM across 13 countries in Africa and Asia (Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Mozambique, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia). During the second phase of the project, DPA carried out an in depth review of three selected interventions to better understand their effectiveness, key success factors, and potential areas for improvement.
The methodology proposed by DPA was based on intersectional feminist approach and an analysis integrating both quantitative and qualitative research methods, as well as traditional and non-traditional data sources collected at different stages of the study, underpinned by a participatory approach involving UNICEF, UNFPA, and other stakeholders.