Data for Development in Think20 India 2023: Critical, Constructive, Conclusive

Improved use of data is essential to effective policy formulation, resource allocation, and delivery of public services. But in order to drive socio-economic development in the Global South, data needs to be effectively leveraged as a public good. This is one of the key takeaways from Dr. Alison Gillwald’s essay, Data for Development, published in a 15-essay compendium titled, “Think20 India 2023: Critical, Constructive, Conclusive”.  

Think20 (T20) is an official engagement group of the G20 which brings together scholars, academics, policymakers, and think tanks from around the globe to explore possible solutions to the world’s most pressing issues. This compendium for India’s presidency of the G20, is the culmination of work begun in January 2023.

In her essay Dr, Gillwald writes on what can be done to halt the widening of global disparities due to digital technologies. She points to specific gaps in current digital policies, particularly with regards to oversight of the role of big technology corporations in steering the global digital development.

In order for data to drive inclusive development, Dr. Gillwald emphasises the need to collect nationally representative demand-side data on ICT access and use, financial inclusion, use of commercial and public services, platform work and cyber security and data protection awareness amongst other pressing policy issues as an evidence base for policy in the majority world. Furthermore, she writes that greater focus must be given to the regulation of non-personal data (in addition to prioritised personal data and privacy regulation) to ensure access to quality data and the realisation of economic and environmental rights.