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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

Screenshot of a video from the event Data as a Development Issue

Reconciling Calls for “More and Better Data” with “Responsible Data Use”

The “more and better data” movement is based on the premise that well-intentioned governments can better serve the poor and vulnerable if they have basic information about them. Until recently, this notion would have seemed uncontroversial. But growing concern about the risks created by the misuse of data—particularly personal data—has led to a shift in attitudes in the development community.

Mobile phone reception coverage map of Tanzania.

How Much Would It Cost to Extend Mobile Coverage to Everyone in Tanzania?

Less than 45 percent of the area of Tanzania is covered by any form of cell phone reception. Telecom providers target high-population areas first, so the percentage of the population covered by the cell phone signal is 83 percent. But the problem is that the remaining 17 percent of the population, or 9.2 million people, is spread over 55 percent of the country—meaning the density of potential users is low. Especially because rural populations tend to be poorer than city dwellers, the revenue generated per cell tower may be too low to justify rollout.

Robotic arms in a factory. Adobe Stock.

Dissecting Different Views on the “Technology Revolution” and the Future of Work in Developing Countries

Caroline Atkinson and I recently posted a blog summarizing our main takeaways from a year-long study group that CGD hosted on technology, comparative advantage, and development prospects. A notable reaction I got to this piece is why there seemed to be such a wide divergence of views about this issue—notably relating to automation, robotics, and AI—across a range of experts. 

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