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How big data can help the developing world beat poverty

by Dashboard Insight, Dashboard InsightFriday, August 2, 2013

The amount of data created is not only growing in the developed world, also the developing world is experiencing rapid growth in data creation. However, a large part of the data created in the developing world has a different origin than in the rest of the world: the developing world is progressing rapidly to the mobile era and is largely skipping the desktop and wired era. This requires a completely new approach, but also offers a vast range of possibilities to beat poverty.

The United Nations also see the possibilities of big data and in 2009 the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the initiative Global Pulse. Global Pulse serves as an innovation lab and they aim to raise awareness of the opportunities of big data and bring together different stakeholders such as big data scientists, data providers, governments and development sector practitioners. The objective is to help catalyse the adoption of big data tools and technologies and to help policymakers understand human well-being and emerging vulnerabilities in real-time, in order to better protect populations from shocks.

Not only the U.N. is involved with exploring the big data opportunities for the developing world. The World Economic Forum is discovering the possibilities. The WEF developed a white paper discussing the possibilities of big data and the new possibilities it offers for international development. The World Bank is researching big data and they have developed a map that visualizes the locations of World Bank-financed projects to better monitor development impact, improve aid effectiveness and coordination, and enhance transparency and social accountability. Finally, the International Aid Transparency Initiative makes information about aid spending easier to access, use and understand. Of course these are just a few of the many new initiatives.

Anoush Rima Tatevossian, who leads the global strategic partnerships and communications for the United Nations Global Pulse, notes that big data “offers a new tool in the development toolkit, and must be approached with a nuanced appreciation of its power, and also of its limitations”. She remarks that there is a long way to go and with this post I would like to share my opinion on how big data can help the developing world beat poverty.

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Source: Big Data Startups

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