AFRICA PORTAL: A dynamic new online resource for policy-makers and researchers

The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) is a key partner in the Africa Portal, a new online knowledge resource offering researchers and opinion leaders a forum to share their insights on Africa and publish their research work on pressing areas of concern to policymakers and the broader public.

The Africa Portal aims to fill the gap in accessibility to research and information on policy issues critical to the future growth and success of the continent. The project is a collaborative undertaking between SAIIA and the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) in Canada, and is part of the broader Africa Initiative at CIGI.

The Africa Portal offers open access to a suite of features including an online library collection, experts’ directory and interactive blog — all aimed to equip users with the latest research and information on Africa’s current policy issues. The Africa Portal’s online library collection holds over 3,500 digital documents including research reports, occasional papers and policy briefs. The entire online repository is open access and available for free, full-text download. A portion of the digital documents housed in the library have been digitised, catalogued and abstracted for the first time as an undertaking of the Africa Portal.

The material for the library component has been provided by content partners of the Africa Portal who see the benefit of wider dissemination of their latest research to the global community through this on-line vehicle.  A key element is that the Africa Portal content is primarily from African researchers working in African research institutions across the continent.  Of the 41 content partners, 32 are from Africa, including Senegal, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa.

In September 2013 the Portal received over 22, 000 unique visitors and nearly 44, 000 page views from across the world.  Most users were from Africa (42%), and nine of the ten cities with the highest usage were in Africa, namely Nairobi, Kampala, Addis Ababa, Accra, [London], Lagos, Cape Town, Pretoria, Harare, Johannesburg.

“Through broadening access to research material on Africa,” comments Jonathan Stead, director of marketing and communications at SAIIA, “this landmark project has the potential to enhance policymaking activities across the continent. It also provides a valuable resource for the international research and policy community working on issues of critical importance to the development of Africa.”

For more on the Africa Portal, visit www.africaportal.org or contact Shingi Muzondo at Shingi.Muzondo@wits.ac.za