As the 2023 Data for Development Festival (Festival de Datos) comes to a close in Uruguay, the Kenyan Government is announced as the next host of this major event in 2025. This will be the first global data festival to take place in Africa.
550 delegates from 93 countries gathered in Punta del Este, Uruguay this week, with representatives from 25 African Governments attending and driving the conversation.
The Festival - organized by the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data and hosted by the Government of Uruguay - meets every two years, bringing together the most innovative minds in data for development from across governments, civil society, and tech companies to discuss artificial intelligence, data governance, inclusive data and more.
Uruguay has passed the baton to Kenya to host the Festival in November 2025, following a highly competitive selection process. This announcement demonstrates Kenya’s leadership on data, tech and AI - fast becoming known as the Silicon Savannah.
The 2025 Festival is expected to be the biggest yet seen by the data for development community. The Kenyan Government has committed to streamlining visa processes for attendees. It will also waive entrance fees to Kenya’s National Park and Nairobi City Council will host a reception to celebrate the Festival.
At a time when the world is grappling with AI, Kenya’s leadership in this area is welcomed by the global community. Kenya was one of the three African nations - among 27 other countries - to sign the Bletchley Declaration at the UK’s AI Safety Summit at the beginning of this month.
Central to this year’s Festival in Uruguay was the brand new ‘Power of Data’ initiative which launched in New York ahead of the UN General Assembly in September. At the heart of the initiative are cutting-edge national data partnerships in an initial 15 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America, and supported by the UK with US$7.5m. Kenya - alongside Ghana, Botswana and a number of other countries across Africa - is driving the initiative.
James Muhati, Principal Secretary for the State Department of Economic Planning, said:
“It is a profound honor and privilege for the Government of the Republic of Kenya to accept the responsibility of hosting the Data for Development Festival (DataFestival) in 2025. I would like to express our deepest gratitude to the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data for entrusting us with this significant event, marking a historic milestone as the first-ever data festival to be held on the African continent.
“While Kenya will serve as the host country, our commitment extends to collaborating closely with other African nations in the Partnership to ensure that this event becomes a truly global platform, representing the unique realities of African countries within the context of the data revolution.”
Claire Melamed, CEO of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, said:
“We couldn’t be more delighted that Kenya is taking up the mantle for the next Data for Development Festival. Time and time again, we have seen how Kenya has led the way in data and technology for a more equal and sustainable world.
“Data is the fuel that powers progress, and Kenya’s leadership is inspiring, showing all of us what is possible when we set our sights high. We can’t wait to see what 2025 holds in store for the Festival in Kenya.”
Notes to Editors
For further information, please contact Jennifer Oldfield, Senior Director, External Relations at the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data
- Find out more about the Data for Development Festival here.
- The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data is a dynamic international network bringing together hundreds of governments, UN agencies, private companies, civil society organizations, and many others. The Global Partnership convenes, connects and catalyzes action to address the problems of poor data use, access, quality and production, and to work with stakeholders to fully harness the new opportunities of the data revolution in the service of sustainable development.
- The Global Partnership supported the development of an AI Practitioners' Guide which gives actionable guidance on adhering to data protection regulation and standards related to the ethical use of AI. It was developed with and for the Kenyan AI community.
- The Power of Data is one of 12 High Impact Initiatives that the UN launched in September 2023. Stronger data systems will revolutionize decision making, accelerate countries’ digital transformation agendas, and open up economic opportunities, for a more equal and sustainable world. Find out more about the Power of Data here.