Regional Hub for Big Data in Africa
in Support of the United Nations Global Platform

Kigali, Rwanda


In addition to the United Nations and UNECA, NISR is collaborating with local universities and both public and private institutions in Rwanda.

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Rwanda is in the process of putting in place its Data Protection Law that will improve the accessing, sharing, analysis and use of big data without breaching the privacy of individuals

Rwanda's progress in embracing Big Data

In 2017, the cabinet approved the data revolution policy and its implementation is under the coordination of NISR. This policy has the mandate to build big data and analytics capabilities within Rwanda.

The 5th International Conference on Big Data for Official Statistics held in Kigali in May 2019, reinforced the role of Big Data in the era of Sustainable Development Goals.

Big Data is important to high-level decision making and is among the aspects of the 4th Industrial Revolution that is already picking up pace across the world as firms seek to increasingly use data to improve productivity, efficiency and value.

Many areas were identified where big data analytics will be used to avail useful insights for evidence-based decision making, and they span many sectors of country life. These include the analysis of satellite imagery to monitor crop production and the analysis of mobile phone data, including transactions, to understand the population's mobility.

Some institutions and companies in Rwanda are establishing data science teams that will help them to deal with extremely large data sets and computationally analyse them to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behaviour and interactions.

To further strengthen the use of Big Data across the continent, Rwanda will always be open for more strategic partnerships and collaboration with other institutions at national, regional and international levels. These partnerships are valuable to share experience towards leveraging opportunities offered by data science to solve existing problems and predicting the ones that may occur in the future.


In May 2019, the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) inaugurated its brand new Training Centre that is designed to be a convenient environment for data access and capacity building. It will also host the NISR Data Science Campus that will be the hub of big data analytics and their applications. The big data hub will be an environment for capacity development activities in new areas of data analysis such as data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning and other big data related techniques, not only in Rwanda, but also in the region.

Given the relevance of the big data hub to Rwanda and Africa, NISR realizes that partnerships and collaboration with other institutions and organizations is needed to achieve its mission. It is in this context that, in March 2020, Rwanda signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the United Nations to operationalize this hub which is expected to start before the end of 2020. Furthermore, the MoU agreed that Rwanda would host the only big data regional hub for Africa.


Kigali, Rwanda


  • National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR)
  • Unied Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN ECA)
  • UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA)