UN’s Global Pulse Lab Kampala opens its door to data innovation partners in Uganda

Jan 29, 2015

The Future we want: An artistic impression of the new Kampala Metropolitan area with modern infrastructure as depicted in the new 5-year National Development Plan (NDPII) due to be launched later this year. Big data analytics offer great opportunities to gauge public perception on service delivery to inform policy-making (Photo by: National Planning Authority/MOFA 2014)

Kampala - United Nations' Global Pulse, an initiative of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, has launched a data innovation centre in Uganda, to provide relevant and real-time analysis of development issues.

The first of its kind in Africa, Pulse Lab Kampala, is a hub for data innovation in Uganda, bringing together partners from Government, the UN, academia and the private sector, to collaboratively develop new data analytics technologies to promote sustainable development. Along with two additional hubs, already established in New York and Jakarta, Pulse Lab Kampala is set up as an inter-agency initiative to provide support to the United Nations Country Team and national partners, by exploring the utility of new sources of digital “Big Data” -such as social media data, mobile data, online information or radio content- and real-time analysis techniques for social development monitoring and program planning.

“Global Pulse will enable us to harness new data and technologies to better monitor the effects of epidemics, natural disasters and other problems that affect the people of Uganda,” said Rt Hon. Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda, during the official launch of Pulse Lab Kampala, held Thursday January 29, at the Golf Course Hotel.

The prime minister revealed that the absence of relevant data had in the past contributed to slow and inadequate response to development needs, and said the hub would help to support policy efforts to address poverty, impacts of natural disasters, epidemics and, food security, to enable government deliver better services.

“As the Government of Uganda, we are now more convinced than ever before that development challenges need to be addressed with data innovation. More strategic partnerships are, therefore, needed to improve the policies, regulatory frameworks and capacities to handle crises and make sustainable development work for all,” he added.

Speaking at the event, the Swedish and Danish ambassadors to Uganda, H.E. Urban Andersson and H.E. Dan Frederiksen respectively, highlighted the need to involve all stakeholders in the initiative to provide solutions for the country’s development as it transitions to a post 2015 development agenda.

In her remarks, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Uganda, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, said: “Uganda was selected to host Pulse Lab Kampala because of the country’s reputation as an early adopter of innovations”.  She emphasised the strategic relevance of Pulse Lab Kampala to the work of the UN in Uganda to be able to deliver more effectively and efficiently as one system.

In his presentation on the work of the UN Global Pulse, Director, Robert Kirkpatrick, said Big data analytics offer immense possibilities of using technology to carry out faster and more cost-effective data gathering for policy-making.

Dr. Paula Hidalgo – Sanchis, the Manager of Pulse Lab Kampala stated that the explosion in access to mobile phones and digital services means that Ugandans everywhere generate vast amounts of digital data every day as they buy and sell goods, transfer money, make phone calls, search for information on the Internet or share their experiences on social media. Pulse Lab Kampala, she said, had reached out to a wide spectrum of partners and identified information gaps that have informed the Lab's new exciting research agenda, that includes: Strengthening preparedness to combat infectious disease outbreaks in Uganda; using speech recognition technology to make Ugandan community radio readable; strengthening accountability of aid delivery in Northern Uganda; putting people’s voices at the centre of development; and providing mobility calendars for food security and livelihoods analysis.

For more information, please contact:

Pulse Lab Kampala Manager, Dr. Paula Hidalgo – Sanchis, at paula.hidalgo-sanchis@one.un.org.

UNDP Around the world

You are at UNDP Uganda 
Go to UNDP Global