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Expert warns on Africa’s archive management

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An international record management expert has warned eastern and southern African countries that attaining transparency and accountability under the public sector reforms may be jeopardised in absence of proper management of the national archives.
Director for International Records Management Trust, Anne Thurston, says while the world is fast growing in the digital era, protection and preservation of digital records is at risk in the absence of proper managing tools.
She made the remarks at Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Branch for International Council on Archives (Esarbica) conference, currently under way in Lilongwe
“This is where government decisions, policies, transactions are being recorded. The extent which government is using computer to create records is the extent to which the risk is growing. We know how fast we are moving into digital environment, so if we could start now investing in training the digital archivist and put in place procedures needed to protect and to control the systems, the country will benefit,” she said
Thurston also said the archives also help to protect the rights of citizens.
Esarbica president, Ivan Murambiwa, said while most of the governments in the region have adopted public sector reforms, there is a general realisation that records which are supposed to be critical to that aspect are marginalised.
Murambiwa said good governance is not possible without evidence-based support in form of records.
“In the region, there is under-investment in infrastructure to promote record management and this has become more critical in line with the adopted ICT where records are now created in fragile media and in absence of structure and strategies to manage them, we risk to lose records that are critical to statistics and data that we may need,” he said
Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development, Cecilia Chazama, admitted that as a country there is a lot to be done in as far as management of the archives is concerned.
The five-day conference is being held under the theme Public Sector Reforms: Transparency and Accountability.

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