Ideas to Action:

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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.

 

Abstract image of a network, with two sides joining together

Governing Data for Development: Where Are We Now?

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust digital issues into the spotlight by highlighting the importance of government access to accurate and timely information for public health surveillance and accelerating the shift towards a digital-first approach in many countries, due to the need to provide services at a distance. It has also brought to the forefront difficult questions about the limits that should be placed on governments and companies that seek to use potentially sensitive data to monitor the spread of disease and target public health efforts.

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.

Identification programs in high-income countries and others, compared

Overcoming the “Know Your Customer” Hurdle with E-KYC

In our recent paper published by GSMA, we examined two approaches to conducting customer identification, verification, and due diligence (collectively referred to as “know your customer” or KYC) that make it easier for financial service providers to take on new customers: tiered KYC and electronic KYC (e-KYC). Of the two, e-KYC is the more promising long-term approach, but also the more challenging to implement.

Initial Coin Offering (ICO) Mania and Its Implications for Technology-Led Social Enterprise

One of the bubblier aspects of the recent enthusiasm for all things blockchain has been the rise in popularity of initial coin offerings (ICOs), also known as token sales. By design, the acronym calls to mind the more traditional fundraising model of initial public offerings (IPOs), in which companies sell equity stakes to investors. With ICOs however, companies use blockchain technology to issue digital assets (usually referred to as tokens or coins) to investors rather than equity stakes. Another key difference—at least for the time being—is that ICOs are virtually unregulated. In fact, many of the advantages ICOs have over more traditional fundraising platforms derive from their unregulated status.

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