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There is often misalignment or a lag in communication in a number of the most central sectors in Africa, such as agriculture and health, and in supply chains. This can be remedied by data-driven and real-time decision-making powered by big data. China is already leading the way in this area, with county governments like that in Xun utilizing geospatial images to inform farmers when to reap their harvest. In Uganda, such programs are already underway, and they certainly can use China’s expertise to more rapidly prototype their systems.

In China, big data in health not only helps with informed strategic health planning, but also to identify trends and treatment success rates in the general population. In many regions of rural Africa, where there is a scarcity of doctors, predictive analytics created from big data might be able to help with diagnosis.

Resource allocation and management is often an issue in African countries, in everything from farming inputs to drop-shipped packages from Jumia, so real-time decision-making powered by big data can incrementally change these supply chains. With its $1.989 billion e-commerce market, China is already the world leader in big data and logistics, which can be applied to certain challenges such as trucking and inventory in Africa.

The frequent, but inaccurate comparison made between Africa’s population of 1.2 billion and China’s 1.3 billion is mainly a problem because of the composition. Africa’s 54 countries means extensive differences in language, operating systems, financial systems and every other imaginable aspect of life. While there are sometimes some regional collaborations, it’s extremely difficult to scale tech companies across Africa because of this fragmentation. Which why an argument should be made for not just integration, but true interoperability. This allows for two-way flow of data, which can lead to multilateral applications of business and commercial cases. With more seamless data sharing and interoperability, these physical and cultural divides can be more easily bridged.

As the continent advances, the data it generates also rapidly becomes more complex. By being able to more effectively sort and process this data into actionable insights, governments and large-scale organizations increase the human dividend across far-reaching economic areas such as labour productivity and food security. In this way, data can lead to reverberating economic impact and more efficient allocation of resources

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