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ECA Launches Africa Communication and Information Platform (ACIP) for Health and Economic Action

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has launched a ground breaking mobile based public communications platform to provide more than 600 million users across the continent with the latest public health advice.

At an Online Live Event hosted by the Commission, it said that the  Information Platform will also furnish national and regional COVID task forces with user generated survey data and actionable health and economic insights.

By improving national data and statistics, ACIP will enable authorities to better analyse pandemic related problems and implement appropriate responses. The platform will also allow COVID-taskforces to deploy health and economic resources to mitigate the pandemic’s impact.

According to a statement by the ECA, the platform aims to support each country’s assigned National COVID-19 Taskforce to enhance its ability to analyze the situation and implement the necessary responses, and to direct resources to mitigate and suppress the health and economic impact of the pandemic.

Robust and easy to use, the platform uses a mixture of text and voice operated menus. The free to use service was developed by the Economic Commission for Africa – in collaboration with 4 major mobile network operators and a data integrator.

“The platform harnesses mobile narrowband channels using a combination of text (USSD) and voice interactions, IVR.  On the broadband side, the platform uses public data from digital channels, including online and social media. By using mobile narrowband and broadband, the platform can reach 3G/smartphone users and mobile subscribers with earlier generation 2G handsets, also known as feature phones.

“This is the first time a mobile USSD platform has been interactively paired with big data AI to yield insights which neither alone could achieve,” the statement added.

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