The Ocean Data and Information Network for Africa has been one of the most successful projects of the International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange programme (IODE) of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC).

The Ocean Data and Information Network for Africa (ODINAFRICA) brings together more than 40 marine related institutions from twenty-five countries in Africa (below) to address the challenges faced in accessing data and information for coastal management:

With the support of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO and the Government of Flanders(Kingdom of Belgium) the network strives to address the challenges faced in ensuring that ocean and coastal data and information generated in national, regional and global programmes are readily available to a wide range of users in an easily understandable format.

The focus of the current phase of the project is strengthening the pan African network of National Oceanographic Data Centre (NODCs), and marine related institutions, as a sustained mechanism for application of data, information and products in marine and coastal management in Africa. This includes the development of linkages with data generators (including on-going large-scale projects on the African coasts), and the development of targeted products and services for national and regional end users.

This will enable them demonstrate their roles as national facilities and encourage other projects to deposit their data in the NODCs, thereby making them sustainable.

Evolution of ODINAFRICA

Starting with the implementation of the project on Regional Cooperation in Scientific Information Exchange in the Western Indian Ocean region (RECOSCIX-WIO) in 1989, IODE has focussed on the focussed on development of the capacity and infrastructure for the collection, processing, archival, analysis, interpretation and dissemination of data and information products. The programme has evolved as follows:

1989-1996: RECOSCIX-WIO
  • Focus on Marine Information Management
  • Limited to 7 Eastern Africa member states
1997-1999 ODINAFRICA -I (ODINEA & RECOSCIX-CEA)
  • ODINEA in Eastern Africa covered Data and Information Management in Eastern Africa
  • RECOSIX-CEA in Western Africa covered Marine Information Management
2000-2003: ODINAFRICA-II
  • Focus on Data and Information Management in Eastern Africa
  • 20 Countries involved
  • Basic training and equipment offered
2004-2008: ODINAFRICA-III
  • Focus on Data and Information Management and Coastal Conserving Systems
  • Involves 25 Countries
  • Sea Level Stations installed, and pilot products development commences
2009-2014: ODINAFRICA-IV
  • Focus on products development dissemination, and strengthening network
  • Involves 25 Countries
  • Directories, catalogues, atlases, and portals developed