Citizen engagement and innovative data use for Africa’s development (Data-Cipation)

Project description

Title: Citizen Engagement and Innovative Data Use for Africa’s Development (Data-Cipation)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: All Member States of the African Union
Lead executing agency: Bureau of Chairperson, AUC, African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD)
Overall term: 2018 to 2023


Ensuring meaningful participation by African citizens in governance spaces as well as encouraging increased use of innovative data, digital and non-digital technologies in addressing governance and development challenges in Africa are critical drivers towards attaining Africa’s Agenda 2063. Adopted in 2015 by all African Union member states, the Agenda 2063 is a vision and action plan to reach a prosperous and united Africa.

Across many African countries, citizens from all walks of life -  women, youths, people with disabilities, the African Diaspora, private sector, civil society, media, and academia etc. - support policymakers by bringing their needs and ideas as input into the governance and development agenda at all levels. At the same time, digital innovations aimed at supporting continental, regional and national governance and development agendas are becoming increasingly widespread. Government policies that aim to ensure the digital inclusion of citizens and spur digital innovations continue to grow.

Despite this progress, there are still numerous opportunities for broader citizen engagement and digital innovation in governance and development spaces. Continental and regional organisations such as the African Union (AU) and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) have a huge role to play as connectors of policymakers and citizens, conveners of innovation stakeholders and public sector actors and catalysers for innovative data use and methodologies, new technologies and social innovations on the continent.


Leveraging data, digital and non-digital approaches for good governance and development has improved the engagement between AU organs, member states and citizens.



The programme supports AU Organs in their quest to intensify citizen engagement and the role of data, digital and non-digital approaches in their programmes and initiatives. The programme is implemented in cooperation with the African Union Commission and the AU Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD). The political partner for the programme is the Bureau of the Chairperson at the African Union Commission, demonstrating the high political commitment of the AU to the programme.

The programme takes a systemic approach, focusing on implementation across three main areas as follows:

  • Connecting policymakers with Africa’s data and digital innovators for good governance and development by enhancing the collaboration and cooperation of the AU organs and member states with Africa’s data and digital innovation ecosystem.
  • Improving citizen participation in good governance and development through innovative communications and engagement methodologies; leveraging data, digital and non-digital approaches.
  • Advancing digital transformation for good governance and development in Africa through responsible and progressive use of data as well as new and emerging technologies for good governance and development.


  • Technical advice to the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) for an AU concept on “Innovation for Africa’s Development through data and citizen engagement.”
  • Enhanced collaboration and cooperation between the AU and Africa’s innovation ecosystem by hosting the Annual Gathering of Innovation hubs in Africa in October 2019, piloting active participation of Africa’s innovation ecosystem in the implementation of the Agenda 2063.
  • Improved adaptation of innovative approaches to addressing Africa’s challenges by supporting the first ever African Union Humanitarian Innovation Challenge (AU-HIC) as part of the activities commemorating the AU Theme of the Year on Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
  • Better capacities for the innovative use of data by supporting the AU Youth Division to visualise the 2019 African Union State of the Youth Report and to publish their results on a web portal.
  • Improved citizen engagement by supporting the Office of the African Union Youth Envoy to enhance outreach and increase the participation of Africa’s young people in the AU governance and development agenda.


Last update: October 2020