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Data as a Development Issue

Thank you to all that attended or watched the livestream. You can rewatch any of the talks here:

Presentation slides for speakers can be found next to their name in the agenda below.

Friday, January 31, 2020

9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Lindner Family Commons

Elliott School of International Affairs

1957 E Street, NW

Washington, D.C., 20052

We are pleased to invite you to a conference on Data as a Development Issue, from 9:00am-5:00 p.m. on January 31, 2020. This event is organized by the Digital Trade and Data Governance Hub (GWU), the Center for Global Development, the Heinrich Böll Foundation of Washington, D.C. and the Institute for International Economic Policy (IIEP GWU). The event is also co-sponsored by GW CIBER and the Internet Society (ISOC DC). The conference will take place in the Lindner Family Commons on the 6th floor of the Elliott School of International Affairs, located at 1957 E Street, NW, Washington, DC.

The digital transformation of the global economy can help businesses and governments provide better public services. However, it also creates new risks for individuals whose personal data fuel these new digital products and services.

To succeed in the data-driven economy, policymakers must establish clear rules about how data can be collected, used, and shared in a manner that simultaneously protects citizens from abuse and enables innovation, development, and growth. Striking this balance may be particularly difficult in lower income countries, where the diffusion of technology is often slower and less complete than in wealthier ones.

We are in the early phase of debating how governments should prepare for and manage the growing role of data in their economies and there is a limited consensus on best approaches. The aim of this free conference is to improve our shared understanding of the role of data governance for economic growth and development.

Throughout the day, speakers will address how data can be used to stimulate development; how best to govern different types of data and data-driven services; and how global governance might support full and fair participation of lower income countries in the digital economy.

Conference Agenda


Welcome by Professor James Foster, Professor and Director, Institute for International Economic Policy, George Washington University


Presentation by Vivien Foster, Chief Economist for the Infrastructure Vice-Presidency, World Bank (Presentation slides)


Coffee Break


Data and Development: How will data and the data-driven economy affect development?

  • Emmanuel F. LeTouze, Co-founder and Director, DataPop Alliance
  • Vivian Ransom, Lead, Development Informatics Team, US Agency for International Development (Presentation slides)
  • Stefaan Verhulst, Co-Founder and Chief of Research and Development, Governance Laboratory (Presentation slides)
  • Chair: Susan Aaronson, Research Professor and Director, Digital Trade and Data Governance Hub, George Washington University) 


Presentation by Claire Melamed, CEO, Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (Presentation slides)




Governing Data for Development: What does good data governance look like? How can development organizations best promote sound data practices?

  • Shaida Badiee, Managing Director, Open Data Watch
  • Agnieszka Rawa, Managing Director, Data Collaboratives for Local Impact, Millennium Challenge Corporation
  • Priya Vora, CEO, Future State
  • Chair: Mike Pisa, Policy Fellow, Center for Global Development


Coffee break


A Global Framework for Inclusive Development: How can low- and middle-income countries participate on equal terms in a data-driven economy?

  • Burcu Kilic, Director, Digital Rights Program & Research Director, Public Citizen
  • Nanjala Nyabola, Writer, Humanitarian Advocate, and Political Analyst
  • Sreekanth Mukku, Project Manager, Data Privacy in the Global South, Konnektiv Kollektiv
  • Chair: Sabine Muscat, Program Director, Technology and Digital Policy, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Washington, DC


Concluding remarks by Shantayanan Devarajan, Commissioner of the Pathways to Prosperity Commission on Technology and Inclusive Development and Professor at Georgetown University


Conference ends

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