We would like to hear from you: Launching online consultations for World Development Report 2021 – Data for Better Lives Concept Note

A few months ago, we announced that the topic for the next World Development Report 2021 would be “Data,” and what it means for development. Since then, our ideas have evolved into a more comprehensive Concept Note on “Data for Better Lives”, which we are happy to release today for your feedback and comments.

The value of data is largely untapped

The omnipresence of data in the daily lives of most people in the world gives rise and support to the view that data will change the world. With the unprecedented rate of data creation, and the increasing role data plays in most of our lives, it is easy to assume that the digital revolution could be the most important life-changing event of this era. And, as the world battles COVID-19, the value and potential development impact of data have become all the more evident. To reflect this, COVID-19 examples will be used throughout the report to illustrate many of the issues that will be discussed in the report.

But despite this unprecedented growth, much of the value of data is still untapped, waiting to be realized. Typically, data are collected by one party for one particular purpose. Yet, afterwards, it remains available for potential reuse that may generate economic value in different applications far beyond those originally anticipated. However, many barriers stand in the way of such beneficial reuse of data. These range from misaligned incentives, to disorganized and incompatible systems, to a fundamental lack of trust.

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