Africa needs a lot of public data infrastructure for data collection – Preston Ideh, co-founder and CEO of Stears

The use of data is essential in our daily lives, helping individuals, organizations as well as the government to limit bias in making informed decisions. However, when it comes to making the smartest decisions on how to allocate capital or the best business decision to make on the African continent, there is still a lot of information that government, operators and stakeholders need access.

Stears, an intelligence company, aims to set a new standard for access to quality analytics and data in Africa by providing seamless access to data and information. It is a financial data company, which provides financial, economic and corporate data and analysis to professionals in the African market.

Preston Ideh, co-founder and CEO of Stears, during a keynote during the Nairametrics Business Half Hour program, explained that the challenges of data accessibility extend to the various data collection processes that involve collecting, storage, distribution, among others.

“There is this problem of collecting and organizing the data that is already available. Generally speaking, when you look at the quality of data that the US, European and Asian markets have, you will realize that compared to them, we have no data. There are so many numbers that we can’t understand because it’s hard to embrace a narrative that emphasizes that data just has to be collected. Some of it still needs to be organized, but a lot of it needs to be collected.

“Coming from a data infrastructure, we need a lot of public data infrastructure for data collection. This means that over the next two years, it will require much stronger and more robust data funding and we need better data from ministries, departments and agencies supported by private companies.

Regarding the operation of the company, Preston said the company does not collect a lot of data for the government. “Our main product in the market is based on the premium which is basically modeled as a media publication, but anyone can get the data or subscribe. It’s data-driven for everyone and we’re always focused on data-driven insights.

“But with the private companies, we do a lot of work for people who want to collect data that hasn’t been collected, proprietary data, in some cases they want us to analyze data for predictions – they want us to pose a problem and they want us to use a data-driven approach to solving that problem.

Preston explained that he obtains data in different ways, including proprietary, private, and public. “Proprietary in the sense that we go out on our own and only collect data. It could be through the service, the pool we organize, we determine the sample size ourselves, the potential accuracy of the data. In other cases, it relies on models and predictions. If we have a lot of historical data, for example if you look at GDP for the last 50 years and also look at a few external factors that are readily available. It’s owner”

“Public data is obtained from the public domain, whether from the central bank, the NBS or any department or agency, and then reloading it would probably be the format of the data. there is also private data from associations, operators and there is a well established data license across the world where people work with partners to give them insight into the market.

While open data is a necessity to activate a rich ecosystem, the question of value creation arises when more efforts are made to generate important data, especially directed towards financial decisions.

Often you have to do a lot of work on this data, you have to bring human intelligence to the table. Open data is therefore the foundation of the data ecosystem, but when more value is created, you start to see the business opportunities,” he said.

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