The increase in the use of data analytics has resulted in the need for the availability of data. For Zimbabwe, the main challenge is that the data is not always available. Have you ever read news articles and wondered where you can also get those numbers that they report? Numbers of minerals produced in the country per year, exports to Zimbabwe by certain countries, infant mortality, GDP, rainfall etc. It is always easy to say that data is not available in Zimbabwe, however, this is not always the case.
A recent trip to a mining company that we consulted for resulted in an increased interest in the general mining sector in Zimbabwe. My main question was ‘What is the mineral production of Zimbabwe?’ As a data-oriented person, I rushed to look for the numbers. This led me to a realization that I still had questions from the results of data analysis that I obtained from various websites. I wanted to look at the data on my own and obtain more insights. This led me to Google Dataset Search.
So, what is Google Dataset Search?
Google Dataset Search is a search engine in Google that helps locate data online, and it is available for free. There are millions of datasets about various subjects. A user only needs to enter a keyword such as “rainfall”, “Zimbabwe” or “gold production in the world” and the results will show datasets containing such information. Of course, all data is prone to bias and reliability cannot be guaranteed. However, with Dataset Search, a user can view the dataset provider and can use data from their trusted providers. Some of the information that a user can view about a dataset includes:
- A link to the download page
- The format in which the data is available e.g. Excel, CSV, etc.
- The provider of the dataset
- Period covered
- Size of the dataset
- Area covered
- Variables measured
- A short description of the dataset
- Date of the last update of the dataset
- License for the data
What data can we find on this tool?
This article focuses on data for Zimbabwe. A simple search using “Zimbabwe” as the search term will result in multiple datasets for Zimbabwe. The results include:
- Zimbabwe GDP
Multiple providers provide this data. These include
- Knoema, which covers the period between 2009 and 2020. The dataset was last updated in October 2020.
- Statistia, which covers the period between 1998 and 2019, with projections up to 2025. The dataset was last updated in January 2021.
- CEIC Data, which covers the period from 2014 with projections up to 2025. The dataset was last updated in May 2017.
- Trading Economics, which covers the period from 1976 to 2021.
- Zimbabwe demographics, health and infant mortality rates
One of the top providers of this data is UNICEF, so we can assume that it can be trusted. This dataset was last updated in March 2015.
- Zimbabwe Rainfall Index
Providers of this data include Knoema, which covers the period from 1966 to 2001.
- Food prices
World Food Programme provides this data, which was last updated in February 2021.
- Data on bats and rodents from Zimbabwe
This is quite an interesting topic to find data on. Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe provides this data, which was last updated in 2019. It covers the period from 1899 to 2012.
- Unemployment rates
FRED provides this data, which was last updated in February 2021.
- Net migration rates
Knoema provides this data, which was last updated in 2019. It covers the period from 1965 to 2020.
- Government debt
FRED provides this data, which was last updated in 2017.
- Electricity transmission networks
World Bank provides this data, which was last updated in 2017.
- Zimbabwe labour force
CEIC Data provides this data, covering the time period from 2006 to 2017. The data was last updated in 2018.
- Female employment rates
Knoema provides this data, covering the period from 1976 to 2020.
- Hydrochemical data and groundwater level time series for several boreholes and wells in Zimbabwe
- Gold production in Zimbabwe
- Total rail lines routes
- Death rate
- Exports to Zimbabwe by Swaziland, Italy, Botswana and other countries
- Total minerals production in Zimbabwe
- Motor vehicle sales
- Number of mobile subscribers
- Coal production
- International Tourism
- Imports from Zimbabwe in other countries such as Belgium
- Fabric exports to Zimbabwe
- Government expenditure
- Food security, etc.
There are many datasets about Zimbabwe that can be found on Google Dataset Search. This is interesting for both researchers and non-researchers. One can explore these datasets to gain knowledge about various industries in Zimbabwe. This will be useful when reporting on topics where actual figures will improve understanding of the topics to listeners. For HR managers, costs of food can be used when adjusting the Cost of Living Allowances for employees. Unemployment rates can also be useful for HR managers. It is important to note that although there are many datasets available, there are some topics where data is not available and a lot has to be done to obtain such data.
Tatenda Emma Matika is a Business Analytics Trainee at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm.