Exploring the private-sector role in the Sustainable Development Goal data revolution
The private sector is already playing a role in providing data to support social and economic development in developing countries. In Sri Lanka and Colombia, call detail records have been used to predict population-level socio-economic characteristics and displacement after natural disasters. In sub-Saharan Africa and India, Facebook and other social-media data have been used to map the population and provide alternative data to predict credit scores to expand financial inclusion.
Since the announcement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the calls for a "data revolution for sustainable development," the private sector has been asked to commit to partnering with the public sector in achieving the SDGs. Calls for private-sector actions such as data sharing and capacity building to assist in monitoring and achieving the SDGs were met by public commitments by the private sector. The need for private-sector participation is even more critical in developing countries, where most public statistical systems are less developed and institutions have lower capacity.
With just eight more years remaining to achieve the SDGs, there is little time to ensure that the private sector is a true and meaningful partner in the data revolution and is contributing to the SDGs, particularly in the Global South. In order to catalyze responsible private-sector participation in data for sustainable development, this project will explore the extent of private-sector participation and how it has contributed to the data revolution; how the private sector is contributing to good data-governance practices; and the challenges the private sector, governments and civil societies face in attempting to come together and use multiple sources of data. The project will develop case studies from companies operating across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Latin America and provide guidance to funders, governments and private-sector organizations on how to close the gaps identified by the study.