In recent years, a revolution in data analytics has changed the way both public and private sector institutions share, manage, and analyze information – and it’s a revolution now reaching developing nations.
In Timor-Leste, the Ministry of Finance has just made current, real-time national budget statistics available online. The government of Kenya recently launched a website providing public access to data from the ministries of Finance, Planning, Local Government, Health, Education, and Kenya’s National Bureaus of Statistics. For international development professionals and policymakers, working with “big” and “open” data to better understand the challenges less-developed communities face has never been more exciting than it is today.
The first major trend is a technological one. In the 1980s, one terabyte of disk storage cost roughly $12 million dollars. Today, standard individual network drives store twice as much information at a cost of less than $100.
This means that classes of data that were extremely expensive to store in the past are now easily preserved and exchanged on low-cost networks.
As CPU costs have also fallen, the amount of information that technology systems can effectively manage has skyrocketed. And that’s good news because some incredible advances in how development professionals, governments, and citizens share and exchange data are happening right now.
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