AD 2021: Leveraging Big Data and Innovation for the South in the Global Economy

December 10, 2021

Information is Power; that is the reason the world’s most valuable resource is no longer Oil, but Data. The UN stated, in one of its reports about Sustainable Development, that the volume of data in the world is increasing exponentially, that 90 per cent of it has been created in the last two years and that it is projected to increase by 40 per cent annually. This huge amount of Data that can be estimated actually in dozens of zettabytes includes information about stock markets, natural resources, climate change, security and any other field that can affect the economy and sovereignty of a State. That said, the volume of data held and explored by each country depends on its richness and its investments in innovation and IT, then, the gap is clear between US and China in one hand and the rest of the World in the other hand. This session, being focused on the South, will answer the following questions: Given that only the American GAFAM’s financial value has reached 4 trillion USD while the whole GDP of Africa is still around 2.6 trillion USD, is it possible for African companies to compete locally with the IT giants? If not, will encouraging foreign investments in this sector, through which they acquire funds and expertise will be a better choice? Do the education programs in Southern countries qualify local labor to get involved in cutting edge technology projects, particularly in cyber security, and this, in order to protect their national economic and security data? How the South-South collaborations and the exchange of technology and funds can benefit African countries and ensure a certain independence from the North?

Eniola Mafe
Founder/ Principal, EMA Advisory and Lead for 2030Vision Initiative
Eniola Mafe is a strategist and international development leader with a track record of over 15 years in facilitating high-level engagement, frameworks for systemic change, program implementation and effective strategy for sustainable development in developing countries. She is the Founder and Principal at Eniola Mafe Advisory focused on helping those who think differently and those who want to think differently about development and social impact. Eniola led the growth and development of 2030 Vision Initiative, focused on harnessing 4IR technologies to accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals within the next decade. In partnership with UNDP, Arm and more than 20 top technology companies, this platform provides a focal point to mobilize more concerted and coope ...
Muhammadou M.O. Kah
Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost; Professor of Information Technologies & Computing, The American University of Nigeria