We've acquired African official documents (government publications) since the 1960s, in print and later also electronically.
In the NAI library
The keyword we add to these materials is official documents. Use it in combination with other search terms when searching AfricaLit Plus External link, opens in new window.. A small number of older official documents are uncatalogued and not found this way.
On the Internet
A starting point to web sites with various official documents is our link collection A Guide to Africa on the Internet. See for instance categories Banks External link. and Official documents, External link. partly also Data and statistics External link..
Searching on a specific topic, it is a good idea to try to think of which ministry may cover that area, and to look up their website directly. Quite often main government websites/portals have links to ministries.
We use the terms official documents, government publications and government documents synonymously.
Official documents comprise all publications produced under the official auspices of legislative bodies, decision-making and judicial organs, civil service departments, courts of law, independent institutions, committees, people in authority, etc.
These publications are essential to social scientific studies on Africa as they are principle information sources for economic, legal, government and political data and are considered to be scientific tools of lasting value. There are:
- development plans,
- economic reports,
- diverse statistics, and
- much more.
Authorities with the important task of disseminating basic decision-making data are choosing with greater frequency to make their official documents available on the internet. The range, however, is still uneven, and while some states offer a rich collection of official documents in full text, there are other countries that supply only a limited number of official documents in summarized form.
Quite often we're asked about constitutions. Two free web resources:
- Database of the Constitutions of Sub-Saharan Africa (DCSSA) External link, opens in new window.
- Constitute Project External link, opens in new window. (global coverage)
Also see what constitutions we have in our library collection External link, opens in new window. (primarily in print).
Our book Studying Africa (2014, 3rd ed.) External link, opens in new window., which is a guide to searching information on and for African studies, has two chapters relevant in this context:
- "Official publications" External link, opens in new window. / Mattias Åkesson
- "Statistics" External link, opens in new window. / Ingela Dahlin
The chapters and the complete book are freely downloadable.