2. Main challenges
Lack of reliable information on animal resources remains a major challenge for planning large-scale interventions or formulation of policies and strategies for the sector at all levels. Decision making and monitoring of on-going activities require timely, complete and reliable information. With the growing trend of competitiveness, timely provision of science-based evidence for complying with global standards is mandatory for African animal products to penetrate
and retain access to markets. Although the situation is gradually improving, awareness of the importance of information and knowledge management as a cross-cutting tool and the need for investment is often neglected. Some the specific challenges include:
- How to facilitate the gathering of useful data and improve quality of data coming from ongoing and planned projects and programmes, as well as from clients and partners.
- How to improve relevance of data and coherence between sources.
- How to determine Africa's ongoing knowledge needs.
- How to select the relevant and reliable data and information to collect (that meet Africa's needs).
- How to gather, analyse (including disaggregation) and disseminate the existing data, information and knowledge.
- How to interconnect different international and regional animal resources information systems to enable efficient ways of data sharing.
Authorities at national, regional and international levels now increasingly recognize the pivotal role of information in prioritising, planning and decision making. It is hoped that the level of recognition will be accompanied by similar level of investment in information and knowledge management. Important steps in this regard were taken by the AUC through its Africa Statistics Project to provide information to its Member States. In the animal resources sector, AU-IBAR started modernizing its information management capacity through one of its earlier projects (PACE) by introducing ICT infrastructure, systems and, more importantly, the Animal Resources Information System (ARIS). The wealth of data and information AU-IBAR has collected over the years through its programmes and projects are available for further analysis and knowledge creation. With additional investment, AU-IBAR can up-scale its information and knowledge management and achieve the status of a centre of excellence for African animal resources. The existence of various international and regional information systems is an opportunity for sharing data, provided that the interconnectivity challenge is resolved.