Despite the great potential of mobile data to support the delivery of the sustainable development agenda across Africa, access to the data remains a great challenge due to real or perceived barriers. These include but are not limited to:
1. Absence of policy and legal frameworks that define protocols for unlocking and sharing the data.
2. Citizen’s privacy and data security concerns that create uncertainties for private sector mobile companies willing to share their data.
3. Limited knowledge of what specific types of data held by mobile data companies could be applied for development.
The Mobile Data for Social Impact Regional Forum in Africa, to be held from 20-21 February 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya, will seek to achieve three main objectives:
- Connect key actors, innovators, and initiatives that have technical expertise in the use of mobile data for sustainable development with country-level demand, to facilitate learning and explore ways to work together.
- Identify opportunities to strengthen then enabling environment at the country-level, through engagements on partnership frameworks and models for public-private sharing of mobile data for timely monitoring of specific SDG indicators.
- Explore opportunities to foster collaboration among different actors in ways that equip changemakers (government officials, researchers, mobile data producers, politicians, civil society, and technology partners) with the right technical expertise, infrastructure, tools, and methodologies for unlocking and effectively using privately-held mobile data for policy and decision-making.
Given the increased demand for timely monitoring of the SDGs, this two-day event will seek to connect national, regional, and global actors in the mobile sector to foster learning that can inspire collaboration and scaling up of data initiatives through public-private partnerships.