Exploiting Data for supporting developing countries

Sandra Kalidien and Sunil Choenni

Ministry of Security and Justice, Research and Documentation Centre,

Statistical Information and Policy analysis

Sunil Choenni

INTRODUCTION

The developments in communication and information technologies (e.g., Internet use and mobile devices) have experienced an explosive growth in recent years in developed as well as in developing countries. It is reported by the UN that in Africa almost 20 percent of the population are online, up from 10 percent in 2010. In 2014, Internet use in developing countries grew by almost 10 percent, about twice as fast as it did in the developed world [The Millenium Development Goals 2014 report]. The expectation is that the number of people with Internet use and mobile devices will grow further in the coming years. Nowadays, mobile devices are used for various purposes. Besides voice communications, mobiledevices are used to share information/knowledge via applications, such as SMS services, Whatsapp,and Facebook.Recent technological developments of mobile devices have made it easier to involve citizens in collecting data, also known as ‘crowdsourcing’. By collecting data by means of crowdsourcing, governments connect with the common mass by acquiring information quickly and learningthe issues that affect day-to-day life of citizens. The potential of ‘crowdsourcing’should not be underestimated, especially in developing countries, where the mobile network is growing rapidly. Although crowdsourcing has already had a strong impact in developing countries, for example, in Haiti and Pakistan this approach has been used to coordinate crisis governance work after natural disasters, crowdsourcing and mobile technology may also play a role in important developmental goals such as safety and health issues. In this article, we explore how the growth of data by means of modern information and communication technologies such as mobile devices, can be further exploited by developing countries.

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