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.
Digital Revolution and Repression in Myanmar and Thailand
Activists have also proactively published social media content in multiple languages using the hashtags #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar and #WhatsHappeningInThailand to boost coverage of events on the ground.
How will oil prices shape the Covid-19 recovery in emerging markets?
– After falling significantly in 2020, oil prices have returned to pre-pandemic levels
– The rise has been driven by OPEC+ production cuts and an improving economic climate
– Higher prices are likely to support a rebound in oil-producing emerging markets
– Further virus outbreaks or increased production would pose challenges to price stability
A combination of continued production cuts and an increase in economic activity has prompted oil prices to return to pre-pandemic levels – a factor that will be crucial to the recovery of major oil-producing countries in the Middle East and Africa.
Brent crude prices rose above $60 a barrel in early February, the first time they had exceeded pre-Covid-19 values. They have since continued to rise, going above $66 a barrel on February 24.
The ongoing increase in oil prices, which have soared by 75% since November and around 26% since the beginning of the year, marks a dramatic change from last year.
Following the closure of many national borders and the implementation of travel-related restrictions to stop the spread of the virus, demand for oil slumped globally.
In the wake of the Saudi-Russia price war in early 2020, Brent crude prices fell from around $60 a barrel in February that year to two-decade lows of $20 a barrel in late April, as supply increased and demand plummeted. The value of WTI crude – the main benchmark for oil in the US – fell to record lows of around $40 a barrel last year on the back of a lack of storage space.
While global demand for oil remains low, one factor credited with reversing the trend is the decision to make significant cuts to oil production, which subsequently tightened global supplies.
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