Data + Markets
More and more commercial and social life is routed through digital networks, creating new sources of value. This data is captured by a variety of firms — including social media, advertisers, and mobile network providers — who collate, analyse, and monetise it. Some providers find it fruitful to give away services for free in order to accumulate user data. Big data analytics undergird the growth of the digital credit sector, including in Kenya where more than 50 such firms track phone usage in order to offer loans. In other cases, firms use data internally, to refine services; the expanding off-grid solar sector, for instance, collects information on energy usage in order to monitor and maintain their infrastructure. Other data is sold as a commodity or directed toward changing behaviour among users.
Between 2020-2021, this network explored modes of developing data markets, both in the sense of expanding their reach and worth, but also with an eye to how this new arena can be used for developmental purposes, including to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. In particular, this Network drew on the experience of East Africa’s three largest economies, working with industry, academia, and government to examine the emerging market for data.
For information on the August 2020 events, visit the Data + Markets Workshop page.