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What a Map on Drinking Age Can Tell us About Africa

Data on Alcoholic Drinking Age Requirments Worldwide

The map above is a visual representation of the age of majority (legal drinking age) compared to the laws governing drinking in each country. The data was taken from Wikipedia and government websites. Sure, this is an interesting map in and of itself, but not what I’m writing about. We’ll talk beer at a later date…

This map instead represents a real problem that we face in Africa: the lack of local content (data) available in a digital format.

Two Takeaways:

1) Start Adding Your Knowledge to the World Wide Web
The overwhelming number of blue areas on the map where the author has “no idea” of the laws and/or drinking age are found in Africa. If you come from any of these countries, you probably know what the laws are. However, neither you or any of your countrymen have taken the time to add that information to the web in a place that is easily found by the rest of the world (ex: Wikipedia).

We have no leg to stand on when we state that the world ignores Africa, or that it doesn’t put it in the right context, when we don’t take the same effort as the rest of the world does to make our content public.

2) Own the Data
There is a whole continent of data sitting untapped before us. Be the person or company that digitizes that data and makes it available to the world for free, or licensed. A few examples of areas to start gathering data on a country basis:

  • Laws
  • Politicians
  • Real estate
  • Businesses
  • Mapping

The list goes on. That data is valuable for research and analysis, to companies building applications that draw upon your database, and as a way to grow the value of your country to the world.

3 Comments

  1. I completely agree. My wife was in Kisumu looking for a place to rent, and after a long search online we realized that there was absolutely nothing on the web.

  2. aaah.. once again, the issue of web presence.

    Man, do you think anybody knows what’s the legal drinking age in DRC ? or in Somalia ?
    May be having consistent, clear and published laws on paper somewhere would help.
    I mean why complain about the lack of information online if that information simply doesn’t exist ?
    priorities ?

  3. Getting good data out of Africa is tough. This is for something like alcohol. When you need to find really important information such as interest rates over the past few years or number of HIV related deaths, finding the right stuff is incredibly challenging.

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