Data, big and small, is an essential ingredient in this endeavor. Data is not only a tool for assessing the size of problems, planning for solutions and measuring progress, but is part and parcel of economic development in all walks of life. With better data acquisition, sharing, storing, processing and communicating technologies and lower prices, we can now obtain and process large amounts of data (Big Data) and derive actionable insights in record time. Data could be static or streaming, structured or unstructured, crowd sourced or collected from sensors and applications. Using Data Science, predictive analytics can be performed to reach operational optimization and higher return on investment.
Over the past few weeks, I participated in the IDRC project Harnessing the Economic Power of Data in the Middle East and North Africa as a lead researcher to prepare a background study of data literacy in the region. The project is implemented jointly by American University of Cairo - Egypt, Birzeit University - Palestine and Al-Akhawayn University in Morocco. The direct link to the report is provided at the end of this post both to encourage knowledge sharing and invite comments. Several sources were explored to gauge the regional data terrain. The major findings are:
Your comments, additions or corrections to the report and its findings are most welcome. The next phase of the project involves capacity building, case designs and platform development.
Update (Jan. 17, 2016): below is the breakdown LinkedIn stats for the first 175 views of this post. From the locations column, statistically speaking, it seems MENA is not concerned!
Abed Khooli (https://twitter.com/akhooli) is a freelance Data Science and IT consultant.
[*] Original post: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/data-science-development-mena-region-opportunities-abed-khooli