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Governance Global Practice

Middle East & North Africa

Special Edition
May 2017

Big Data
Connecting Voices (CV) Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is a
regional initiative and partnership that promotes governance and
improved financial management practices in the public and private
sectors. The ultimate aim is to support the demands of citizens
throughout the Arab World for jobs, better governance, a voice in
public affairs, and social and economic inclusion as reflected in the
World Banks MENA Regional strategy. CV MENA plans to seize on
the windows of opportunity available in the region. It will support
capacity building in the area of governance, facilitate the
development of a professional community, as well as the sharing and
transfer of knowledge both within countries and within the region as
a whole. CV MENA will help foster greater transparency and
accountability, thereby engendering enhanced public trust. In
addition, building public and private sector governance and financial CVMENA won the World Banks 2013 MENA
management capacity will also help attract and provide comfort to Vice President Team Award
much-needed foreign direct investment in the region.

Publisher: Governance Global Practcie, MENA, The World Bank

Managing Editor: Gabriella Kusz, Renaud Seligmann
Art Director: Denis Largeron Contributing Photographers: Denis Largeron Images: World Bank Images, Shutterstock

Note: The posts in the Connecting Voices magazine should not be reported as representing the views of The World Bank Group, the Executive Directors of the
World Bank Group or the governments they represent. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the The World
Bank or its policy.
04 Editorial
Renaud Seligmann, 26 2017 World Government Summit
MENA Region, World Bank
16 The Role of Big Data
in Assessing Crises Big Data in Action Workshop
in the Middle East and
North Africa Region
Public Financial 17 GAZA - 18 SYRIA - 19 YEMEN
Management (PFM)

05 Interview
Rachel Tiffen
Chartered Institute of Public
Finance & Accountancy, CIPFA UK
28 World Governmnet Summit
High Level Panel Government of the
Future The Promise of Big Data
20 Big Data Solutions Applications for Governments
Understanding Forced
Migration as a Result of
Fragility, Conflict and Violence

21 Is Inequality
Underestimated in Egypt
Evidence from House Prices
Corporate Governance
& Financial Reporting (CGFR)

09 Audit Data Analytics Cross-Cutting

What are the Key Opportunities?
30 Big Data & Procurement

22 Utilizing Big Data to Solve

Cairos Traffic Congestion

31 Leveraging Big Data

COVER STORY to Help Competition Agencies Tackle
BIG DATA Anticompetitive Behavior

11 Big Data in Action for

Government 25 Big Data
Big Data Innovation in Putting Innovation into Action
Public Services, Policy at the World Bank
and Engagement

33 New Books & Reports

Big Data

34 Comic Relief

Editors Note

and accountability in the use of public funds and service delivery,

and rebuild the trust needed for government and society to succeed.
Technology in the form of data analysis and information science
is widely recognized as bringing socio-economic benefits in the
form of greater cost savings and improved efficiency. However, the
application of these practices to the public sector is lagging behind
even though it may offer even greater impact in terms of
improved service delivery, more effective policy-making and greater
trust between the citizens and their governments. Harnessing the
potential of technology, data and information to shape public sector
development will not be an easy task. Significant investment and
effort will be needed to achieve this objective and the rewards will
not be without risk.

In recognition of the sweeping technological changes gripping

society and the economy, this special edition of Connecting Voices

Renaud Seligmann (CV) MENA will focus on the role and value of technology, data and
information in the form of big data. Big data, or the analysis of large
Governance Practice Manager, data sets to gain a greater understanding of an issue or challenge,
MENA Region, World Bank has only recently been made possible due to the technological
advances in data processing and analysis. Big data offers both the
public and private sectors the potential to review and analyze large
Technology is changing the way the world works, and is shaping the volumes of data and assess risks, provide broad inputs into decision-
way governments and the private sector approach, analyze, and making, and highlight any emerging trends or patterns relevant to
address international economic development challenges. As noted solving the challenges at hand.
by World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim, during his opening
press conference to the World Bank Group - International Monetary Among other subjects, this edition of CV MENA Magazine will
Fund 2017 Spring Meetings: explore how big data has been successfully employed to combat
fraud, counter anticompetitive behavior and design solutions to
The internet, smart phones, and social media allow everyone to see common challenges in the developing world. Through the following
exactly how everyone else lives, which is causing aspirations to rise series of articles, we cover issues surrounding big data as it is applied
all over the world. . . [I]n the midst of these crises and with rising to various fields including procurement, auditing, and
aspirations, we must change the way we work in development transportation. We also take an in-depth look at the World
finance. We have to find new and innovative ways to reach the poor Government Summit (WGS) events, which took place in Dubai,
and make the world more secure and stable and to help the world United Arab Emirates this past February. The WGS and its emphasis
grow. on technology and innovation showcased how governments can
utilize emerging opportunities, such as big data, to solve their
Poor service delivery, an inability to meet the needs of citizenry, and national challenges. During the WGS sessions, panelists offered
corrupt activities have weakened the common view of public insights and lessons learned for countries as they seek to integrate
institutions. Technology and its ability to provide information and innovative thinking and smart solutions into tackling existing and
insight has come of age at roughly the same time as public trust in emerging problems.
traditional institutions has diminished. Therefore, technological
development, data analytics and information dissemination offer a We thank you for your readership and invite you to join us in
unique opportunity for governments and society to leverage exploring the subject of big data through this special edition of CV
technology to rewrite the social contract, offer greater transparency MENA Magazine.

Public Financial

Rachael Tiffen,
Head of Counter Fraud Centre, Chartered Institute of Public
Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA), United Kingdom

career toward the central government level, accepted the position of Manager of
which eventually led to my current position Counter Fraud & Loss Prevention Service at
as Head of the CIPFA Counter Fraud Centre. the UK Ministry of Defense.

In order to broaden my exposure at the Because of my significant background in

national level, I undertook several voluntary local government, I was readily recognized
positions on working and policy groups as the local government expert in this area.
which focused on national government Furthermore, with my operational
issues. Largely as a result of these volunteer knowledge, experience and understanding
experiences, I obtained a secondment from of the issues, I was able to lead the UK
my position in local government to the UK Home Offices first-ever national strategy
Home Office. Shortly after I concluded my for combatting fraud at the local
secondment, a position became available at governmental level.
Welcome and thank you for taking the the Home Office. This enabled me to
time to sit down with CV MENA transition formally from the local to the Additionally, my knowledge and breadth of
Magazine. You have had a very unique central government level. I worked there for experience at both levels positioned me
and interesting career path, which has 3 years as the Head of Public Sector Fraud, well to take on the tasks and responsibilities
led you to the position of Head of and eventually was promoted to the of the CIPFA Counter Fraud Centre. Today, I
the CIPFA Counter Fraud Centre (the position of Deputy Director. Building upon lead the CIPFA Counter Fraud Centre in
Centre). Please, if you can, share with my central government experience, I then supporting its clients and stakeholders
us a bit about your professional
background and what led you to the

Although my current position involves

undertaking anti-fraud and corruption work
at a variety of levels, my career began and
has largely focused on local government
service. Most of my career has been spent
serving as the Head of Audit and/or Fraud
for the U.K. Municipalities of Enfield,
Waltham Forest and Lambeth. Only in the
last seven to eight years have I steered my
through the development and provision of
tools, consultancy services, thought
leadership and training.

The CIPFA Counter Fraud Centre works

to lead and coordinate the fight
against fraud and corruption across
the local and central governments, as
well as the health, education and
charity sectors. With such a wide
remit, how does the Centre prioritize
and select issues and projects?

The Center has a small team, so we must

review and prioritize our work very
carefully. When I first came to CIPFA to set
up the Center, I was its only counter fraud
employee for the first 18 months. Today,
although we have a larger team and more
resources than when we first began, we are
faced with a very active and constantly-
changing fraud environment. As such, evaluation data and information about the analytics professionals, political leaders, and
prioritizing and evaluating issues and costs of fraud are revealed, we can better others. Together, we discussed their
concerns is still of key importance in understand and appreciate the value of respective risks, problems, capacity, fraud
determining where our efforts would be such counter-fraud activities. possibilities, and what was needed to bring
best placed. them to the discussion table.
The Centre focuses not only on fighting
To keep our finger on the pulse of the fraud fraud at the central government level, One of the key takeaways from our
environment, the Centre has ongoing alerts but also at the local level. In the World workshops was that local governments
require support from outside experts. They
and monitors key issue areas. In this regard, Banks Middle East and North Africa
we undertake workshops with key need access to external networks of support
(MENA) region, strengthening
stakeholders to obtain a clearer view of in combatting fraud. In response to this, in
governance at the local government 2010, we developed a Board of senior
what is happening on the ground. We also level has been a key priority. What
engage with individual investigators to practitioners and stakeholders who could
advice or guidance can you offer to respond, as needed, to the local
understand their most pressing concerns.
Additionally, the Centre undertakes MENA region readers who may be government requests for support, advice
consultancy work so we are clear about the struggling to promote counter-fraud and guidance regarding counter-fraud. I am
issues and risks facing our stakeholders and and anti-corruption initiatives at the happy to say that this network has proven
clients. local level? itself sustainable and is still in existence
Finally, in the course of my career, I have While working as Deputy Director of the
had the opportunity to work on both UK The culmination of our workshops, group
National Fraud Authority at the UK Home
National Strategies for Local Government discussions and interviews was the Local
Office, I very quickly realized that there was
the first while I was at the UK Home Office Government Counter-Fraud Strategy
a lot happening with regard to counter-
and the second while at CIPFA. A core part document. This strategy was developed as
fraud at the local level both good and
of these strategies has been engaging with a living document that captures a series of
less good practices. As such, I began by
and interviewing various counterparts and streams of work, engaging people to their
facilitating the development of a Local
representatives to gain a comprehensive desired level, and seeking to work together
Government Counter-Fraud Strategy. To
understanding of the fraud issues facing the in a collaborative manner. This includes
develop this strategy, our unit spoke with
nation and its local governments. both the public and private sectors. The
local representatives, including Chief
strategy document is structured around
Executive Officers [CEOs], investigators, and
To cite an example, one area we have three core principles:
so on. Through this engagement, we
emphasized in recent months has been the understood that if this strategy were to be
value of counter-fraud activity. Fraudulent successful, it would need to be owned by Acknowledging CEOs and political
activities and crimes have a significant the local government and its stakeholders. leaders need to acknowledge that
financial impact on the economy and there is a fraud problem at the local
society. For example, in the UK, fraudulent The National Fraud Authority could government level and then work to
activities constitute one in every three coordinate and facilitate the development address the issue.
crimes committed and cost the UK roughly of the strategy. However, the local
British Pounds (GBP) 52 Billion (roughly government and stakeholders would need Preventing Doing what can be done
US$67.5 Billion equivalent). The exact to direct us toward what they wanted. This in order to prevent fraudulent activity.
amount depends on what is being counted was essential to ensure buy-in and For example, an entity at the local
and how it is being measured; but successful future implementation. In total, governmental level may not have a
regardless of the means, research has we completed 11 workshops with local large counter-fraud staff. However, by
demonstrated that fraud is big business for investigators. Our goal was to try and speak pooling resources and expertise with
criminals. Indeed, in the UK and countries with everyone we could. As such, we spoke other local governmental units, they
around the world, fraud presents a massive with investigators, behaviorists, data may be able to have access to the right
challenge. As additional research and
people, tools and resources to concerned data analysis. In the UK, we have developing its investigative capacity to help
undertake these core functions. data-matching initiatives (at both the organizations review and scrutinize these
central and local governmental levels), but resultant cases. Additionally, the central
Pursuing Pursuing is related to the matching that is undertaken is relatively hub also produces alerts so it may not only
recouping lost funds. infrequent. Typically, data are matched only be used as an input into investigations, but
every two years. The result is many matches also as an alert to users regarding potential
When we were ready to publish and and false positives. issues so that they may then take
disseminate the strategy, we had more than preventative measures, as needed. Finally,
600 people attend the dissemination Through our discussions, we found that the Centre also maintains a hotline to
workshop. There was also significant people wanted something a bit smarter, support organizations in addressing results /
interest and a spirit of volunteerism to and in real-time with the ability to access cases which emerge from the system. The
participate in the various pilots and other databases and information beyond CIPFA Counter Fraud Centre recently won a
programs envisioned through this strategy.
In the first year of implementation, the
strategy and its work streams saved local
governments GBP 11 Million (roughly US$
14.3 Million equivalent). However, I believe
the larger impact has been in influencing
cultural change in local governments
regarding the role and value of counter-
fraud efforts, as well as the manner in
which such fraud needs to be addressed.

In 2014, when I joined the CIPFA as the

Head of the Counter Fraud Centre, the
original Local Government Counter-Fraud
Strategy had come to a conclusion. The
Centre was then asked to lead the
development of the succeeding strategy.
Over the course of these years, many things
had changed and improved in local
government; but there were still significant

The successor strategy focused on what we

found to be the 6 principles which were
that which was captured by the contract to deliver these analytic services to
necessary to building and maintaining a
government. In my position at the UK Home all 32 local government agencies across
robust counter-fraud program. We coined
Office, I had worked with BAE through one London, plus the City of London. We are
these principles the 6 Cs: culture,
of our pilot programs and knew of their very excited about this groundbreaking,
capacity, capability, competence,
capabilities and interest in potentially innovative opportunity and we believe it
communication and collaboration. Through
collaborating on an initiative of this level. will save the local governments a lot of
our second round of research and
Therefore, working in cooperation with BAE, money.
engagement, we began to understand that
we developed data analytics with wrap-
if a local government embodied these six
around support services provided by CIPFA The BAE central hub and attendant public-
principles in the right measures, they would
to help investigators. private partnership has developed into
have the foundation for a strong counter-
quite a unique collaboration. Drawing upon
fraud program.
We went out and spoke to organizations our strong heritage of counter-fraud and
that collected information regarding our extensive network of professionals/
This edition of CV MENA Magazine has
identity fraud, compromised bank accounts, experts in the public sector as well as our
a strong focus on 'Big Data.' In line national databases and identity/ forged understanding of the problem, the CIPFA
with this theme, can you share with us documents. We then sought to establish Counter Fraud Centre leads the cooperation
information about CIPFA's new relationships with them, and include their and information sharing but it is truly a
partnership with BAE Systems Applied collected information in a central hub which public-private partnership.
Intelligence to create a new, could be used by the CIPFA Counter Fraud
advanced data analytics service which Centre and our stakeholders to identify The Centre's website
may help public sector organizations risks, monitor activity and act on issues. (
to identify and protect themselves er-fraud-centre) has a plethora of
BAE systems utilize NetReveal, which
against fraudulent activity and cyber- materials, resources and guides which
analyzes the data contributed to the central
attack? may be of use to readers in the MENA
hub and identifies discrepancies, risks, and
so on. Organizations using the system are region. What are some of the new or
In the design and development of the CIPFA able to assist with setting the risks, as well upcoming projects that you would like
Counter Fraud Centre, we took time to go as contributing data. One outcome of the to highlight for our readers?
around the country to speak with system is that because we are inputting
investigators, stakeholders and others to third-party data and its predicted analytics, I believe it is important to note that the new
understand what was really wanted and a large volume of cases will be produced UK Anticorruption Strategy was expected to
needed in addressing and combatting fraud. which will need to be pursued. In response, be delivered late this spring. However, as
One of the most popular responses the CIPFA Counter Fraud Centre is the UK just had elections, this may impact
the timing of the release. Regardless of the continue to engage on our traditional work the changing nature and structure of our
release date, this will be an important issue streams, including our annual survey of workplaces (for example, with increased
and area for the Centre. counter-fraud within the UK. It is scheduled teleworking).
for release in May 2017, and will include a
Another emerging issue is the European summary report to be published in The UK government has recognized the
Unions General Data Protection Regulation September. We also have our annual urgency of this issue, and has invested
(GDPR) and the use and application of data Government Awards which honor and raise roughly GBP 1.9 Billion (roughly US$ 2.5
analytics. In this sense, the theme of this the profile of individuals and organizations Billion equivalent) in the creation of the
edition of CV MENA Magazine is very timely that have excelled in the field of counter- new National Cyber Security Centre. The
as everyone is talking about big data. This is fraud. Cyber Security Centre itself is the public
definitely an area the Centre will be face of the UK Government in addressing
addressing strongly going forward. Looking ahead, what do you see as cyber threats, providing advice, offering
some of the key challenges that public threat intelligence, and deploying rapid
Finally, I think one of the most urgent issues institutions will face in countering response management for victims of cyber
we will be facing now and into the near crimes.
fraudulent activity and cyber-attack in
future is the cyber world. The landscape of
the future?
cyber and the amount of incidents, volume, The National Cyber Security Centre has
and their impact is enormous. However, so formulated a five-year Cyber Security Plan.
In the UK, we have recently had many well-
are the number of cyber strategies and It seeks to raise awareness and enhance
publicized data breaches. As such, there is
firms offering to support governments with planning and preparedness against cyber-
quite an urgency regarding organizational
cyber security services. As such, it is quite a fraud. Some of the recommendations
security and counter-fraud. In response, we
difficult landscape for our local government, stemming from this plan include
have seen several efforts by the
central government and sector stakeholders incorporating younger, cyber-savvy
government and other organizations to
to navigate in determining what to use and personnel into the workforce, investing in
educate and encourage members of the
which services and providers to select. organizations and cyber-security programs
public about the importance of securing
and a commitment to improving efforts
data. For us, as organizations, we also need
The Centre plans to continue to address the in this area.
to reflect on data security, in particular as
issue of cyber security and offer advice and
we navigate personnel management and
guidance to our stakeholders. We will also

Corporate Governance
& Financial Reporting

Audit Data Analytics

What are the Key Opportunities?
Kalina Shukarova Savovska
Senior Financial Management Specialist,
Centre for Financial Reporting Reform
(CFRR), World Bank

Traditional audit methods served auditors

for decades, but as technology advances
and stakeholders expectations evolve, so
too does the need for auditors to innovate
and transform their approaches in order to
keep pace with demand.

How is technology transforming the


Today, advances in technology and software

solutions make it possible for auditors to
fundamentally change the way a financial What is new about audit data external information and are used to
statement audit is done. Financial statement analytics? produce audit evidence during risk
audits will still strike a balance between assessment, analytical procedures, and
traditional methodologies and new Classical analytical procedures consist of substantive procedures and control testing.
technology-driven methods. However, absolute comparisons of balances with prior
auditors now have new tools and year balances or with budgets and forecasts, Enhanced audit quality
techniques available. ratio comparisons and trend analyses. They More relevant audits
may also consist of comparisons based on Identifying issues earlier
Audits are already becoming semi- financial or operational data designed to Larger populations tested
automated, meaning that hardware and predict the balance in a financial statement More relevant evidence gathered
software inputs are increasing. Indeed, the classification. As such, they form part of the Higher quality audit evidence
use of information technology to audit judgment process by challenging
computerize documentation, audit plans financial information or the lack of such Increased audit effectiveness
and working papers is standard practice in information. Assess large volumes of data quickly
the profession. Make better informed risk assessments
Audit data analytics is much broader and Increased auditors focus
The audits of the near future will likely deeper than traditional analytical More frequent testing
include substantially more data analytics. procedures. It involves using powerful More timely reporting
Technology advances support the use of software tools and statistically complex
data analytics methods and introduce new procedures. These can include: cluster Improved client service
forms of audit evidence as well as new ways analysis; predictive models; data layering; Greater insight
of audit testing. visualizations; and what if scenarios that Raising issues earlier
allow the exploration of new ways to Improved communication
analyze large sets of relevant auditing data. Possibility to visualize results
These data are sourced from internal and
What benefits do audit data analytics Audit standards will likely evolve There are several good alternatives that
bring? smaller audit practices can employ. These
Many challenges and questions arise with include using third-party vendors to process
The advances in technologies and software data analytics in the audit context of today. and analyze data and using simple but
solutions enable auditors to engage with These challenges and questions may require powerful generic database tools with
audit data analytics in a variety of new further guidance, including: the ability to functionalities designed for auditors. These
ways, resulting in audits that are more test entire populations and how to deal with can include the ability to access a variety of
focused, insightful and effective, as follows: exceptions; fitting audit evidence derived data sources and perform source data tests
from audit data analytics within the current that are automated, traceable, and
Focused as the auditors attention is requirements; clarifying what kind of audit repeatable.
directed toward areas of greater audit procedures exist; and how to address the
risks; issue of the integrity of underlining data There is potential to use data analytics
Insightful because they provide used as well as the need to validate data beyond traditional audits
improved client service; and from non-traditional external sources.
Effective as audit teams can direct The potential of using technology, and
more of their time to complex areas Standard setters do not want audit especially data analytics, can extend beyond
where increased audit risk may be standards to inhibit ongoing innovations in the scope of traditional audits. It provides
present. this area. However, they also recognize the practitioners and smaller audit firms with an
need for careful consideration before the opportunity to engage with clients across a
So what can practitioners expect? process of amending audit standards can variety of service lines and in innovative
take place. The International Auditing and new ways.
Audit practitioners of all sizes will need to Assurance Standard Board (IAASB) Data
embrace technology in the audit process. Analytics Working Group issued a Request Auditors work with data on a daily basis and
Large accounting firms are already making for Input, Exploring the Growing Use of explore new ways of analyzing data. This is
significant investments in developing home- Technology in the Audit, with a Focus on part of a natural evolutionary process for
grown tools and methodologies surrounding Data Analytics. It informs stakeholders the accountancy profession. Provided
audit data analytics. Many smaller firms about the ongoing work in this area and auditors independence is not impaired,
have yet to introduce these advances and gathers their input as to whether all data analytics can be used to provide
reap the benefits. Major investments are relevant considerations regarding audit data greater insights. Data analytics consulting
required, such as in human capital, analytics have been addressed before any and advisory services can be provided or
hardware and software, as well as in the revisions to the International Standards on engaged via specialized assignments. In this
development of implementation Auditing (IAS) are attempted. way, such services can offer some targeted
capabilities. level of assurance in certain areas that
Auditors skills will need to be provide clients with reduced risk and
Expectations of investors, audit committees, upgraded improved security.
regulators, and other stakeholders
regarding the use of technology advances in Auditors will always need to have a good The accountants role from report writer to
the audit are also evolving rapidly. Clients, foundation in traditional technical business partner is also gradually changing
even small ones, are becoming better competences, which already constitute a because accountants spend more time
equipped technologically, and as they come core body of knowledge in university and analyzing the companys results. Analyzing
to appreciate the benefits offered by data professional educational programs. patterns or potential issues, as well as
analytics, they will undoubtedly expect data However, a new set of skills will be required pulling data from different sources into one
analytics and technology to be used in the for performing the technologically advanced view where data can be overlapped and
audit process. audit. Education will be required in patterns can be recognized faster, may be
information technology, statistics, and especially beneficial for small- and medium-
It is becoming necessary for smaller audit modeling. Indeed, this body of knowledge sized enterprises (SMEs). In such cases,
firms to start embracing the use of will need to be integrated in university and firms may lack in-house monitoring and
technology in the audit process. professional education programs for current controlling departments and need to rely
Professional Accountancy Organizations can and future accountants. instead on external professionals to provide
support practitioners and smaller audit greater insight into operational and
firms in a variety of ways, including: Professional Accountancy Organizations can compliance risks.
providing educational opportunities; raising play an instrumental role in this process by
awareness among clients and members of offering practicing members opportunities Acknowledgements
the key benefits; developing toolkits and to engage in a learning process via training, This article summarizes messages addressed in a recent
publication by the World Banks Centre for Financial
guidance; researching and recommending continuing education development Reporting Reform (CFRR) developed by Kalina
software and hardware options, including programs, or other focused education to Shukarova Savovska, Senior Financial Management
generic data analysis tools; and providing develop these new skills. Specialist, CFRR, the World Bank with contributions
from Bonnie Ann Sirois, Senior Financial Management
members with support to convey their Specialist, CFRR under the Audit Training of Trainers
views, comments, and input to national and Investments in both hardware and Community of Practice (Audit ToT) of the EU-REPARIS
international standard setters. software are necessary Program. This is available at:

Many smaller audit practices cannot afford

to develop customized data analytical tools
as the pioneering investments in hardware
and software are a costly matter and simply
beyond their resource availability.

Cover Story
Big Data

Big Data in Action for Government

Big Data Innovation in
Public Services, Policy and Engagement
This paper was produced within the context of a Strengthening Government Service hosts the Mossack Fonseca, that is, the
reimbursable advisory services agreement with Delivery Panama Papers. The Panama Papers
the United Arab Emirates Prime Ministers Office contain 11.5 million emails, database
in order to support the World Government
Today, consumers are used to having a entries, images and documents which
Summit 2017
growing supply of personalized, on-demand big data analytics helped to rapidly
commercial products and services. People sort, categorize, index and search. The
interact with government services every day analysis found several irregularities and
PROMISING APPLICATIONS FOR BIG DATA with regard to areas such as health, triggered multiple investigations.
IN GOVERNMENT employment, education and business, just Solution Spotlight: The Counter Fraud
to name a few. Society is eager to use big Centre at the UKs Chartered Institute
The potential for big data to transform data to make public service delivery equally of Public Finance and Accountancy
government is vast. This article focuses on as smart, responsive and personalized. (CIPFA) manages the London Counter-
big data solutions with applications in Fraud Hub, which supplies big data
service delivery, policymaking and citizen One area of tremendous opportunity is in analytics, investigations and recovery
engagement areas in which big data can the use big data algorithms to detect fraud, services for the 32 London Local
play a transformational role. It also non-compliance and bottlenecks in Authorities and the City of London
discusses key initiatives for governments to government operations. Governments are Corporation.
facilitate action for effective data use. huge producers of data, most of which are
unstructured and text-intensive. Text
Service Delivery analytics and machine-learning algorithms
Big data analytics can be used by are indispensable to analyzing
governments to improve existing services, administrative data for insights. They can
as well as to draw on novel datasets to drive automate systematic, multi-level checks on
entirely new public services. insurance, procurement and tax records to
flag entries requiring further examination,
Policymaking or identify performance bottlenecks that
Policymakers are using satellite imagery, cell need attention.
phone data and more to produce alternative
economic indicators for new and real- Procurement and Financial Flows: Big
time policy insights. data techniques are transforming processes Healthcare: Valuable information about
to detect fraud, collusion and money public health is found in government
Citizen Engagement laundering through the analysis of records, as well as unconventional sources
By applying machine learning to online and procurement and financial information. such as social media, discussion forums,
social media, governments can be more Algorithms are used to scan procurement mailing lists, health websites and news
responsive to citizen sentiment, ushering in records, invoices, bank information, outlets. Mobile phone data is also being
a new dimension of civic engagement. Big certificates of origin and other data to widely used for monitoring and improving
data analytics can be used by governments identify fraud, collusion and shell health services. These channels can
to improve existing services and to draw on companies. complement traditional information sources
novel datasets to drive entirely new public Solution Spotlight: The International to help authorities monitor results and
services. Consortium of Investigative Journalism feedback in real-time, as well as to improve
(ICIJ) provides nearly 40 years of performance and outcomes in hospital
information about companies in over management operations, insurance
200 countries and territories. ICIJ also
processing, vaccinations, nutrition and Solution Spotlight: The Chinese city of educational processes and improve
disease. Shanghais municipal government has learning tools.
Solution Spotlight: HealthMap is a installed sensors throughout the citys
platform that automatically tracks and 3,300-kilometer waterpipe network. Land Administration: High-resolution
analyzes multiple data-feeds in 15 These sensors alert the authorities to imagery from satellites and Unmanned
languages including official precise location issues, such as leaks, Aerial Vehicles (UAVs, or drones), combined
documents, news reports, social media, dramatically reducing response times, with cloud computing and hand-held
international health organizations, infrastructure damage, maintenance computing devices, can deliver capabilities
government websites and health costs and service disruption. to revolutionize land registration processes
workers blogs to produce an online Solution Spotlight: The India.Nightlights and survey methods. These near-real-time
visualization of disease trends. This platform uses night light data from methods will inevitably replace traditional
approach can facilitate the early satellite images to monitor electricity surveying approaches. Land registration
detection of disease outbreaks, provision over time to all 600,000 improves public revenues by increasing tax
thereby enabling prompt and targeted villages in India. collection. It also enables efficient
responses. Solution Spotlight: The SWEET Lab resolution of competing boundary claims,
Solution Spotlight: In Brazil, the Ceara company is working with local and provides the unbanked with property
State government is using Proactive governments and service providers in rights that are the basis for access to credit
listening, a mobile-phone based system developing countries around the world and finance.
to provide the government with real- to better understand water and Solution Spotlight: In Kosovo, UAVs are
time data about the coverage and sanitation services. Sensors on water being tested to secure property rights.
quality of public health services. Real- pumps in Ethiopia and Kenya provide The drone imagery is processed in real-
time information enables the usage statistics and monitor time and used in combination with a
government to identify emerging functionality to help keep pumps hand-held tablet to record boundaries
problems, such as bribes for health working. in an online system to formally register
services, and intervene in a timely and land. The entire process is completed
effective manner. Education: Personal data from devices, in hours and days, as opposed to weeks
Solution Spotlight: During West Africas exam data and other sources can be used in and months with traditional survey
2014 Ebola crisis, the Swedish non- innovative ways to monitor student methods.
profit, Flowminder, used cellphone performance, better understand teaching Solution Spotlight: The South African
data to create models predicting practices, and help parents and students government has worked with Digital
population mobility and potential identify the best fit with a school. Big data Globe to use high-frequency and high-
routes of disease transmission. Experts can complement traditional sources to resolution satellite imagery feeds along
from around the world also created the enable new delivery regimes that tailor with mobile phone applications to geo-
Ebola Open Data Initiative. This lessons to performance, and monitor locate each residential dwelling with an
organized access to multiple big data progress toward government and global address. This is part of a broad
resources and created a tool to analyze goals. government effort to digitalize census
them, leading to the development of Solution Spotlight: In Kenya, the and household survey processes for
an open-source global model for Ebola, national government uses a mapping planning and budgeting purposes.
which allowed health officials to test platform to show areas where
different scenarios and interventions. educational resources are lacking. Public Security: Police forces are drawing
Tanzania has established the website on big data and predictive analytics to make
Public Utilities: Remote sensing data from to help assess the quality of better policing decisions. Basic information,
satellites and ground-based sensors can schools. such as crime type and location, can help
provide a wealth of real-time or near-real- Solution Spotlight: In Mexico, the officers make smarter decisions about
time information to monitor the provision ENOVA platform uses data analytics patrols. Law enforcement agencies are also
and quality of public utilities, such as water and data from student interaction and using big data analytics, through social
and energy. feedback to continuously troubleshoot media analytics companies such as Crimson
Hexagon, to be more effective in public
outreach campaigns.
Solution Spotlight: PredPol is a
predictive policing application used in
50 cities that analyzes basic data, such
as crime type, dates and location, to
help law enforcement agencies make
better policing decisions. Brazil, the
Netherlands, and the UK use similar
Solution Spotlight: In Bogota, Colombia,
World Bank researchers are using big
data analytics and risk terrain modeling
to understand the relationships
between crime and public
infrastructure, such as bus stations,
public hospitals, schools and
satellite, mobile phone and household
survey data to create dynamic
population maps.
Solution Spotlight: The Billion Prices
Project (BPP) started at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT) Sloan School of Management
aggregates price information from a
multitude of online retailers around the
world and provides real-time inflation
Solution Spotlight: Stanford Universitys
sustainability and artificial intelligence
lab has developed a satellite imagery
and deep-learning approach to
predicting poverty. The World Bank is
also experimenting with satellite-based
methods that complement traditional
methods for small-area poverty

Smarter Policymaking well as to make cities more sustainable,

inclusive, productive, resilient and livable.
The role of information in policymaking is a Solution Spotlight: Big Pixel is among
big concern in our information age. Big data several satellite-based applications that
is a viable source of high-frequency and are aiding policymakers in acquiring a
granular data that can provide profound more systematic understanding of
insights into human mobility and economic where urbanization is occurring, to
behavior to better inform policy decisions. what degree and how quickly. This
The entire globe is now imaged by satellites helps to show what impact policy
on a daily basis, with quality and interventions, such as zone changes
affordability continuously improving. New and transport corridors, have upon
public-private arrangements, such as the urbanization.
Food Security: Big data tools are enabling
Open Transport Partnership and the Solution Spotlight: OpenTraffic is a sophisticated analyses of weather and
Workforce Data Initiative, are emerging to global platform that uses anonymized satellite data to analyze crop strategies and
make data from social media, professional positional data from vehicles and formulate optimal agricultural policies.
networks, mobile phones and sensors smartphones to visualize real-time and Solution Spotlight: Lobell Labs has
readily available to policymakers. historic traffic conditions. The Uber developed a scalable crop yield mapper
Movement platform aggregates Uber that uses satellite-based
Traditionally, policy is based on reports that vehicle data to inform urban measurements to predict crop yields in
both commercial and smallholder
are largely informed by traditional survey infrastructure decisions.
and administrative data and statistics Solution Spotlight: In Seoul, South farms. The solution has been tested in
instruments that are slow and labor Korea, the OWL bus uses big data the US, as well as in smallholder
intensive. In contrast, big data can analytics to better serve the needs of systems in Africa and India.
potentially deliver policy insights on a more nighttime travelers. The project used Solution Spotlight: Information on food
frequent, disaggregated and cost-effective data from three billion call and text prices can be crowdsourced through
basis. Traditional surveys such as data points, along with five billion social media. In Indonesia, Global Pulse
censuses, official statistics and enterprise points from corporate and private taxi has tested social media and
data will always be needed. However, it is data, to design nighttime bus routes crowdsourcing to track food
commodity prices in near-real-time in
likely that robust big data proxies will optimized to match the origin and
continue to emerge and become more destination of passengers journeys. areas where other data sources are
integrated into policymaking processes and
decisions. The data from satellites, mobile Official Statistics: In many countries,
phones and social media alone can change census data is incomplete and outdated.
Employment Services: Government labor
the dynamic between information and Accurate and reliable information on basic agencies are experimenting with big data to
policymaking. statistics, such as population and poverty, inform the most appropriate policies to help
individuals resume work, such as tailoring
are surprisingly lacking for much of the
Transport and Urban Planning: Satellite world. A consensus is emerging in the training services for different segments of
imagery, cell phones, vehicle sensors, video statistics community that big data and job seekers.
feeds and social media are being used by machine learning can be used in certain Solution Spotlight: LinkedIn is working
policymakers and planners for traffic and instances to create viable statistical proxies with the Australian government to
urban planning purposes. Remote sensing, for monitoring and policy decisions. mine data from the LinkedIn economic
mobile phone data and machine learning Solution Spotlight: Facebook graph to identify trends, such as the
can provide policymakers and planners with Connectivity Lab is working in increasing demand for technology
a much better understanding of urban collaboration with the Center for workers who also possess soft skills.
These insights will help policymakers to
mobility, land usage and urban change. International Earth Science Information
Policymakers now and in the future can use Network to produce high-resolution create programs giving Australian
these insights to provide access to jobs, as population maps. Flowminder is using
workers the right skills and them assess politicians performance Cup to understand citizens feelings
competencies. and legislative issues of interest, as well about policies and government. The
Solution Spotlight: The World Bank is as increase voter turnout. analysis showed citizens expressing
working with Flowminder in Haiti to Monitoring and feedback on services negative sentiment about the national
analyze mobile phone data to provide and polices: Big data can be a catalyst governments low investment in basic
Haitians with better information to improving service delivery by services compared to lavish spending
regarding access to jobs and helping governments to proactively on the World Cup suggesting
opportunities. listen to feedback on performance and domestic policy priorities for Brazils
quality, as well as to gauge sentiment government.
Environmental Policy: Analysis of around policies and interventions. Solution Spotlight: The Ushahidi
environmental and climate data from Citizen voice and collective action: Big platform was created to monitor
multiple sources is enabling authorities to data analytics help to identify real-time Kenyas general elections. It has since
understand environmental impacts and trends and can help citizens to mobilize been used around the globe by citizens
interventions from regional, national and with regard to policy issues of interest. to monitor and support solutions for
global perspectives. elections, civic problems and crises.
Solution Spotlight: Global Forest Watch The promise of big data for better citizen
combines satellite imagery, crowd- engagement can only be realized if feedback Putting BIG DATA into Action for
sourced witness accounts and public is effectively aligned with government Government
datasets to track deforestation around incentives, mechanisms and processes to
the world, which is believed to be a take informed action. The pursuit of public The age of big data creates new challenges
leading man-made cause of climate ends is not just a responsibility of and opportunities. Governments need to
change. The project helps ethical governments, but also of the private sector, develop strategies, tools and forms of
businesses to ensure that their supply non-profit organizations and the public. engagement to better understand dynamic
chain is not complicit in deforestation. Individual administrations within the forces and respond accordingly. The
Solution Spotlight: Microsofts different systems of government will solutions featured in this article show how
Madingley is a next-generation model embrace the idea of shared greater big data can tackle fraud and corruption,
of ecoystems and biodiversity across accountability to varying degrees. Making generate administrative savings, and
the globe. Madingley provides a government services and policies more improve service delivery and policymaking
working simulation of the global responsive to citizen feedback will require processes, thereby making them smarter,
carbon cycle, and aims to model strong relationships between policymakers, more accountable and more responsive to
everything from deforestation to service providers, civic organizations and citizen feedback.
animal migration, pollution and citizens.
overfishing in a real-time virtual Solution Spotlight: After Haitis 2010 However, to realize value from big data,
biosphere. earthquake, a crowd-sourced governments must strengthen technical and
application developed by Humanitarian legal frameworks to access and use data
Open Street Map soon became the responsibly. Importantly, they need to
Citizen Engagement default tool for search and rescue develop integrated capabilities to put big
teams. More than 600 volunteers data insights into action, and to be
Citizen engagement the interaction traced roads and encampments from responsive to citizen feedback about
between governments and citizens to aerial images onto a computer services and polices. Big data innovation is a
strengthen citizen voice can play an program. Crowd-sourced markers rich process of learning that will require
integral role in the improvement of service identified resources, such as refugee perseverance as solutions are tested,
delivery and policymaking processes, camps and cholera clinics. adapted and mainstreamed. However, the
provided appropriate mechanisms are in Solution Spotlight: In Brazil, researchers potential value from effectively using big
place to translate citizen feedback into analyzed tweets made during protests data should make the effort worthwhile.
action. Big data analytics can make this surrounding the 2014 Soccer World
interaction smarter, more targeted,
personalized and responsive.
Governments have only recently begun to
adopt the customer relationship
management approaches that are now
prevalent in the private sector in many
countries. These systems can potentially be
used to enhance government-citizen
interactions with timely information. In this
regard, they help citizens to better manage
service requests. Big data analytics can also
improve government process performance,
enable better decisions and improve the
transaction experience. Benefits include:
A more informed and engaged
electorate: Informing voters can help
examples of isolated use of mobile phone data, social
media data or satellite imagery data, innovations are
needed in the daily production of official statistics, which
requires real partnerships with the private sector, new
skills and infrastructure, and clear links between these
available Big Data sources and the Sustainable
Development Goal (SDG) indicators.

United Nations Big Data Global Working Group. Big

Data Project Inventory: a catalogue of Big Data projects
that are relevant for official statistics needed for
decision-making on public policies, as well as for
management and monitoring of public sector
programs/projects. This is a joint project of the World
Bank and the United Nations Statistics Division.

Big Data Applications in the Government Sector.

Communications of the Association for Computing
Machinery (ACM), March 2014. This provides a good
overview of business and government use of big data,
including issues of volume, velocity, variety, and security.
The public sector is learning from the fast-growing
commercial use of big data and analytics.

Big Data: A Report on Algorithmic Systems,

Opportunity, and Civil Rights. Executive Office of the
President, U.S. Government, May 2016. This report
examines several case studies from the spheres of credit
and lending, hiring and employment, higher education,
Big data has the potential to help shape sharing and responsible use of private- and criminal justice to provide snapshots of
governments of the future. However, sector data. opportunities and dangers, as well as ways that
leveraging the opportunities brought about government policies can work to harness the power of
big data and avoid discriminatory outcomes.
by big data also requires a cultural shift 3. Promote transparency in algorithms:
within the public sector. Data needs to be Governments must encourage good The Federal Big Data Research and Development
seen as an asset rather than a byproduct of practices in the design and Strategic Plan. Written by the Big Data Senior Steering
administrative activity in order to be valued, documentation of algorithms, including Group, Subcommittee on Networking and Information
Technology Research and Development, for the National
curated and shared where appropriate. This transparency and accountability Science and Technology Council, Executive Office of the
could be part of a broader movement to mechanisms to correct and contest President, United Sates.
transform the public sector away from the decisions based on algorithms.
Pathways for Progress, Data Driven Development. The
bureaucratic model inherited from the 19th
World Economic Forum report provides a vision for how
century and toward a more agile, 21st 4. Invest in big data capacities: Many Big Data might be used to address the challenges of
century version. Such a transformation datasets span departments, meaning sustainable development.
could be key to restoring citizen trust in governments need to manage and
Bringing probability judgments into policy debates via
government, which has significantly eroded integrate datasets from departmental forecasting tournaments. A tournament sponsored by
in recent years. Several key areas require silos. Big-data control centers are the U.S. intelligence community revealed ways in which
government action if big data is to be used needed for implementing strategies forecasters can better use probability estimates to make
predictions even for seemingly unique events. It
effectively for better governance: and best practices, as well as for
showed that tournaments are a useful tool for
providing essential resources in generating knowledge.
1. Provide clear regulation and guidelines advanced computing technologies.
for data use: Governments need to Governments also need change- Beyond prediction: Using big data for policy problems.
Machine-learning prediction methods have been
provide legal and policy guidelines on management and data science skills to extremely productive in applications ranging from
data ownership, quality and sharing, as adapt processes, systems and practices medicine to allocating fire and health inspectors in cities.
well as issues pertaining to privacy, civil to put big data in action. However, there are a number of gaps between making a
prediction and making a decision, and underlying
liberties and equality. They must make
assumptions need to be understood in order to optimize
decisions on privacy in conjunction data-driven decision-making.
with public opinion, informing citizens Additional Resources
about the trade-offs (costs versus World Development Report, 2016: Digital Dividends.
This World Bank report looks at digital opportunities of
benefits) between the privacy and These sources provide some useful starting points
the new economy and how countries can prepare by
security risks of sharing data. regarding the use of big data to improve ensuring that institutions are accountable.
World Development Report, 2017, Governance and the
2. Foster Public-Private Partnerships: The Big Data Challenge, Pioneering Data Driven Approaches Law. This World Bank report looks at fundamental
majority of high-value data assets to Development. This World Bank report profiles the questions, which are at the heart of development,
reside with the private sector. Public- application and lessons of several World Bank big data policymaking and policy implementation.
private partnerships can facilitate the applications in the development sector.

coordination of governments, FOOTNOTES

United Nations Global Pulse is an initiative to promote
businesses and non-profits to make big awareness of opportunities to harness big data for 1
data accessible for the public good. For development and humanitarian action. It is a network functions/digital-mckinsey/ our-insights/public-sector-
of innovation labs that coordinate research and
example, the Global Partnership for strengthen the big data innovation ecosystem.
digitization-the-trillion-dollar-challenge and http://
Sustainable Development Data is a
multi-stakeholder network of over 150 United Nations International Conference on Big Data innovation
organizations that promotes the for Official Statistics 2016. Proceedings of the 2016 2
Other countries with big data strategies include
conference in Dublin. Going beyond the existing Australia, France, Japan, and New Zealand.
The Role of Big Data
in Assessing Crises
in the Middle East and North Africa Region

The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) aid programs. It involves examining large
and Recovery (GFDRR) is a global region and elsewhere. Three in particular databases from various viewpoints in order
partnership that helps developing countries concern the use of big data and other to gain insight and knowledge into patterns,
better understand and reduce their innovative data methods such as social trends, associations and relationships on a
vulnerability to natural hazards and climate media analytics, satellite imagery, and data given topic.
change. GFDRR is a grant-funding mining to assess the damage due to
mechanism, managed by the World Bank, recent/ongoing conflicts in Gaza, Syria and It can also be used for the purposes of
that supports disaster risk management Yemen. forecasting future developments. Satellite
projects worldwide. Working on the ground imagery can be used to: assess and measure
with over 400 local, national, regional, and Innovative Data Gathering Methods poverty and economic development levels
international partners, GFDRR provides in remote geographic areas; monitor water
knowledge, funding, and technical Social media analytics involves the resources and agricultural output; monitor
assistance. gathering of data and insights from social deforestation; and inform damage
media websites, blogs and the like. It can assessments in conflict-affected countries.
Specifically, GFDRR provides analytical provide textual context, mobile and location Since 2008, the World Bank and the
work, technical assistance, and capacity data, and search engine data. European Space Agency have worked
building to help vulnerable nations improve together to harness the benefits of earth
resilience and reduce risk. GFDRR has Data mining is increasingly being used in observation for development.
produced a number of Crisis Assessments in international economic development and
Crisis Assessment: GAZA
In the aftermath of the 2014 Gaza War, a
number of rapid assessments were
conducted to assess the situation following
the ceasefire announced on August 26,
2014. These included Palestinian Authority-
led sectoral assessments, the Multi-Cluster
Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA) and a rapid
physical damage assessment carried out
using before-and-after satellite imagery.

These assessments formed the basis for

designing the Palestinian Authoritys Gaza
Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan
2014-2016 (GERRP), which was used as a
tool to raise funds at a subsequent
international donor conference. To guide
the implementation of these funds, the
Palestinian Authority (PA), with the support
of key donors, requested the Gaza Detailed
Needs Assessment (DNA). The DNA aimed
to articulate the GERRP and develop a
medium- to long-term recovery plan by
GFDRRs Role recovery framework, ensuring a uniform
The Gaza DNA marked the first government approach across all sectors.
formulating and prioritizing programming
request to implement the Guide to
interventions across sectors, including
guiding the attendant institutional and Developing Disaster Recovery Frameworks Aggregate Damage Assessment
implementation arrangements. (DRF Guide) following a disaster or conflict. The infrastructure sector accounted for 64
It also marked the first application of the percent of all estimated damages for a total
The specific objectives of the DNA were to: joint European Union-United Nations-World of US$ 1.4 billion, and 60 percent of all
(i) validate the immediate damages of the Bank Guide to Developing Disaster Recovery estimated losses totaling US$1.7 billion.
conflict; (ii) estimate the expected Frameworks, helping the government in Gazas gross domestic product (GDP)
economic losses induced by those damages; planning recovery according to priority and contracted by 15 percent as a result of the
and (iii) develop a detailed strategy for the phase of recovery. conflict.
recovery and reconstruction process. These
would then form the basis on which a In coordination with the GFDRR, a multi- Key Results
needs-oriented, but prioritized recovery sectoral team led the damage assessment A detailed needs assessment verified and
process, would be managed across the and recovery needs process on behalf of the further articulated damages and economic
various sectors. It would also account, as Palestinian Authoritys international losses resulting from the conflict. It also
much as possible, for the critical parameters partners for all infrastructure sectors presented prioritized needs for recovery
of the longer-term vision of reconstruction including energy, housing, municipal across all sectors, along with a year-by-year
and livelihoods restoration of Gaza. infrastructure, transport and water and financing plan. A national consensus-
sanitation. GFDRR also designed and building workshop brought together all key
provided guidance on developing Gazas ministries, agencies, and international
partners to present the recovery and
Gaza Recovery Needs (US$ millions) reconstruction findings and priorities. This
workshop also served to generate
Sector Subsector Recovery needs consensus and ownership regarding the
Infrastructure Housing 930 DNA findingsmainly cross-sectoral
Energy 238 priorities, as well as institutional and
Water 156 implementation arrangements. The
Transport 54 methodologies and processes used in the
Explosive ordinance disposal 5 Gaza DNA to develop the recovery
Productive Agriculture 297 framework would go on to inform the
Non-agriculture productive 301 development of subsequent recovery
Tourism 1 frameworks in post-crisis applications. The
Information and Communications Technologie 3 application of the DRF Guide in the Gaza
Livelihoods & social protection Livelihoods and social protection 763 conflict serves as evidence regarding its
Social Development Health 383 flexibility and applicability to a number of
Education 150 contexts.
Culture 13
Governance Governance 581
Total 3.875 Billion
Crisis Assessment: SYRIA
The Syrian crisis has devastated the country Total Value of Damages by Sector for Syrias Six Cities
and set it back decades in terms of (US$ millions as of March 2016*)
development. The Syria Information and
Research Initiative (SIRI) was designed to Sector Low Estimate High Estimate
respond to the main challenges Education 176 215
represented by the Syrian conflict. It offers Energy 1.182 1.445
an innovative solution to the problem of Health 321 392
coordinating humanitarian and Housing 4.056 4.958
developmental efforts across World Bank Roads 128 156
Group (WBG) and other development Water & Sanitation 99 121
partners. As part of this initiative, a damage Total 5.962 Billion 7.287 Billion
assessment was conducted in the Syrian
city of Dara. * Damage estimates of physical infrastructure use historical unit costs. Reconstruction needs
would be higher due to inflation, security premiums, scarcity of materials/labor, and so on.
Following this assessment, the World
Banks MENA regional team requested
GFDRR support to conduct a damage and
assessment to obtain a better Key Results
understanding of the confidence level of the A preliminary report identified: (i) a
needs assessment for six Syrian cities. The
final damage data. quantitative range of estimates of the
objective of this assessment was to
estimate the effects of the crisis on the physical damages to key public and private
The GFDRR team led the project with the assets in the selected sectors including:
population, infrastructure, and service
key objective to be the bureaucratic silo education, energy, health, housing,
delivery, as well as to better understand the
breakers, bringing together a multitude of transportation, and water and sanitation for
preliminary recovery needs.
sector specialists from the World Bank the six cities; (ii) the impact of the crisis on
Global Practices. These specialists associated service delivery; and (iii) key
GFDRRs Role contributed to the assessment with elements of an enabling environment,
The ongoing conflict in Syria posed a unique background context, data verification, including infrastructure needs to motivate
challenge. The damage assessment had to analysis of damage characterization, impact IDPs to return to their place of origin.
be conducted without having any presence on service delivery, and sector
on the ground. Therefore, the GFDRR recommendations. A Geographic Information System (GIS)-
assessment team developed an innovative
based data visualization and sharing
methodology to assess damages in a remote
Aggregate Damage Assessment platform was created to facilitate data
manner using satellite imagery analysis,
The total damages for the six cities analysis and sharing. The platform allowed
social media analytics and data mining.
including Aleppo, Dara, Hama, Homs, Idlib, the teams to convert the large sector data
Social media analytics played a major role in
and Latakia ranged between US$5.962 to sets into easily understandable visuals over
this assessment to validate the damage
US$7.287 billion. Aleppo is the most the base map of each city.
information gathered from satellite imagery
affected city, accounting for roughly 50
analysis. Market expertise was solicited to
percent of the estimated damages. Latakia The work conducted for the Syria Detailed
do this analysis under the guidance of
is experiencing increased pressure on Needs Assessment was included in an
GFDRR and the World Bank sector teams.
infrastructure and services from the influx internal watching brief to the WBG
The GFDRR team also developed an
of Internally-Displaced Persons (IDPs). leadership. It positions the WBG to be
accuracy rating metrics as part of this
better prepared to mobilize quickly in the
event that hostilities reduce to operable
developmental activity levels. An update
was carried out establishing new damage
data reflecting the current status of the
assessed cities (as of March 2016).

GFDRR leveraged its relationship with its

partners. This will also prove valuable in
obtaining a situation awareness as the
conflict evolves, and provide insight on
areas that require prioritization in a post-
conflict recovery scenario.

The assessment techniques and innovative

methodology pioneered by this activity
informed a subsequent Iraq damage
appraisal that was conducted through
GFDRR support in a record time of ten days.
Crisis Assessment: YEMEN
the analysis under the guidance of GFDRR
and the World Bank sector teams. Damage
Total Value of Damages by Sector for the Four Cities in Yemen
information provided by partners,
(US$ millions as of March 2015)*
government ministries (for example, the
Ministry of Education) and local agencies
Sector Low Estimate High Estimate
(including, for example, the local water
Education 86 105
corporations and the Road Maintenance
Energy 125 153
Fund) was also collected to triangulate the
Health 435 532
findings of the market vendor.
Housing 3.245 3.966
Transport 88 108
GFDRR supported the sector specialists
Water, sanitation & hygiene 79 97
from the six priority sectors with data
Total $4.058 $4.961
analysis that helped them to quantify
* These are damage estimates of physical infrastructure using historical unit costs. Reconstruction damages, analyze the impact on service
needs would be higher due to inflation, security premiums, scarcity of materials/labor, and so on. delivery, and provide sector
Context World Bank Group, and its partners about
Yemen is the lowest-income country in the the impacts of the ongoing conflict in Aggregate Damage Assessment
MENA region. In June 2014, armed conflict Yemen on critical infrastructure, physical Damage costs are estimated to range
between the government and militias assets, and service delivery. The first phase between US$4-5 billion. The energy sector
started to spread across much of Yemen of the Yemen DNA focused on four cities: in both Sanaa and Taiz sustained over 60
and then escalated in March 2015. It has Aden, Sanaa, Taiz, and Zinjibar. The percent damage to their assets. Housing is
caused major loss of life, internal Government identified six priority sectors the most affected sector with total damages
displacement, and the destruction of for each of these cities, including: of US$3-4 billion. Approximately 88 percent
infrastructure and service delivery across education, energy, health, housing, of the damage in the transport sector is due
the countrys main sectors further transport, and water and sanitation. to damage done to the port in Aden and the
exacerbating a pre-existing humanitarian airports in Aden and Sanaa.
crisis. The Yemen Damage and Needs GFDRRs Role
Assessment (DNA) was conducted in GFDRR was asked to support the Social, Key Results
partnership with the United Nations, the Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice A preliminary report included: (i)
European Union, and the Islamic (GSURR) in conducting the Yemen DNA. Due quantitative estimates of the physical
Development Bank (IsDB). The DNA had the to the ongoing conflict, the assessment was damage to key public and private assets in
strong support of the Ministry of Planning primarily remote-based. In this context, it the six key sectors of the four cities; (ii) the
and International Cooperation, acting as the used an innovative mixture of satellite impact of the crisis on associated service
focal point for the government of Yemen. imagery and social media analytics, delivery; and (iii) a preliminary analysis of
supplemented by field reports and local stabilization interventions and their
Work for the first phase began in July 2015. government data whenever possible. respective sequencing.
The key objective of the first phase was to Market expertise was solicited to utilize
inform the Government of Yemen, the remote assessment techniques to perform The work conducted in the Yemen DNA
activity informed an internal watching brief
for the Government, the United Nations,
the European Union, the IsDB, and the WBG
leadership providing them with a better
understanding of the ongoing conflict. The
work has also helped to forge a partnership
that would prove useful in supporting
Yemen in its post-crisis recovery.
A GIS-based data visualization and sharing
platform was created to facilitate the
sharing of information. The platform
allowed the team to convert the large
sector data sets into easily understandable
visuals over the base map of each city. The
platform also allows for the progressive
update of the damage information that will
be effective in providing a time lapse
understanding of the situation.
The continued improvement and
formalization of the remote assessment
methodology developed by GFDRR resulted
in GSURR taking the lead in the assessment,
with technical support provided by GFDRR.
Big Data Solutions
Understanding Forced Migration
as a Result of Fragility, Conflict and Violence

A report by Unfortunately, there is often a severe lack (1) forced migration flows and dynamics,
World Bank and Deloitte of high-quality data in fragile and vulnerable (2) the local and global effects of violent
areas. Promisingly, the rise of big data is conflict situations,
This Knowledge Note uses a case approach providing innovative data flows that can be (3) the environmental stressors behind
to illustrate the potential of big data in used to greatly improve situational forced migration, and
understanding the dynamics of forced awareness and understanding of forced (4) the political, social, and economic
migration as a result of fragility, conflict and displacement. dimensions of forced migration.
violence around the world.
This big data primer
Measuring the magnitude and evaluates six example cases
understanding the drivers of which demonstrate the
forced migration where potential of big data in
fragility, conflict and violence forced migration as a result
compel vulnerable populations of fragility, conflict and
to migrate are key violence. From the
components in formulating harnessing of satellite
effective crisis responses. In imagery and crowdsourced
lower- and middle-income analysis to assessing food
countries, this information insecurity in South Sudan,
informs evidence-based to the mining of social
decision-making that empowers media posts and videos to
policymakers to both plan for gain insight into the militant
forced migration flows by groups of the Syrian Civil
mobilizing resources and War, there is potential for
response efforts efficiently, as big data to improve the
well as identify, investigate, and design and implementation
potentially remedy the root of development operations.
causes of their displacement.
While these cases
For crisis responders to be more demonstrate examples of
effective, high-quality data must its application to forced
be made available to help migration, big datas
policymakers understand the scalability for intervention
drivers and implications of efforts can still be
forced migration. Good data are challenging. Datasets
essential for identifying areas of essential to this type of
need and opportunity for operationalization may
refugees and internally displaced often spark individual
persons (IDPs), relief, privacy concerns or be
infrastructure, resilience- proprietary to governments
building initiatives, and or companies. Furthermore,
movement toward conflict development institutions
resolution. Good data are may often need to establish
indispensable to benchmarking partnerships with private
initial conditions and monitoring sector data science
the effectiveness of humanitarian and Big data from an array of sources such as expertise and technological tools to derive
development interventions. Consequently, a satellite remote sensing, mobile phones, meaningful insights from big data.
data-based intervention agenda that social and online data, ground sensors,
focuses on gathering high-quality data on video cameras, and crowdsourced data Leveraging big data is a promising tool
forced migration flows and connecting it to are at the forefront of innovations to toward building better understanding of the
relevant policy areas (for example, harness insights that were previously core drivers of forced displacement, as well
humanitarian aid, disaster relief, food inaccessible. These approaches are being as in formulating more effective actions.
security) provides a stronger foundation for used by policymakers to formulate more The main challenge now is to make use of
designing relief efforts to help those effective mitigation, adaptation and these new data sources in ways that
affected. response efforts through a better maximize development impact.
understanding of:
Is Inequality Underestimated in Egypt?
Evidence from House Prices
Roy van der Weide example, the World Top Incomes Database
(Alvaredo and others 2015) includes no
evidence that inequality in Egypt is being
underestimated. The household survey data
Christoph Lakner countries from the Middle East and North are used for the bottom part of the
Africa region. Furthermore, data derived distribution and are combined with another
Elena Ianchovichina from tax records are less useful in places data source that provides a better coverage
World Bank where tax evasion is more pervasive, as is of the top tail. This method permits a much
the case in many developing countries. larger set of data for the top tail; the only
All authors are from the World Bank. Contact
information:, requirements are that the data: and In the absence of data from tax records, this (i) contain a good predictor of household This is a background study explores the feasibility of using data income, and
paper for the report entitled Inequality, Uprisings, and
Conflict in the Arab World led by the World Banks Chief
regarding housing prices to estimate the top (ii) provide a good coverage of the top tail.
Economist Office for the Middle East and North Africa tail of the income distribution. Market
region. house price data can often be obtained Thus, the Gini index for urban Egypt is found
more easily and, most importantly, it tends to increase from 36 to 47 after correcting
World Bank Policy to be available in the public domain. This is for the missing top tail. A natural next step
Research Working Paper #7727 in contrast to tax administration data, which would be to use data on house prices to
are subject to important condentiality estimate the top tail of the wealth
This study examines the importance of concerns and require cooperation from distribution, and extend the analysis to
using multiple sources of big data to governments. other countries.
estimate income inequality. Household
income surveys often fail to capture top An empirical application to Egypt provides a
incomes, which leads to an underestimation good testing ground for the inclusion of References
of income inequality. housing price data. In addition to being a Alvaredo, Facundo, Anthony B. Atkinson, Thomas
major Arab country, inequality in Egypt is of Piketty, and Emmanuel Saez. 2015. The World Top
For the estimation of income inequality, considerable interest not least because it Incomes Database.
having good data regarding top incomes is
has been cited as one of the factors behind
crucial. A popular solution is to combine the the Egyptian revolution (Hlasny and Verme Hlasny, Vladimir and Paolo Verme. 2013. Top Incomes
household survey with data from income 2013). Estimates of inequality based on and the Measurement of Inequality in Egypt. Policy
tax records, which has been found to result household surveys suggest that inequality is Research Working Paper Series 6557. World Bank,
Washington, DC.
in significant upward corrections of declining and low in Egypt, as well as by
inequality estimates. international standards. For the full Working Paper, see:
Unfortunately, the availability of the income 4645
Using publicly available data from real
tax data is rather limited, particularly in estate listings to estimate the top tail of the
developing and emerging economies. For income distribution, there is strong
Utilizing Big Data to Solve
Cairos Traffic Congestion

Most Congested City in Middle East causes, associated economic costs, and are accessible within a given time frame,
and North Africa (MENA) potential solutions. using only the transit network (see Map 1).

The Greater Cairo Metropolitan Area Utilizing Big Data to Analyze and In order to calculate the accessibility effects
Improve the GCMAs Bus System of the corridors, the team used the digital
(GCMA), with more than 19 million
map of all transit routes to find the bus and
inhabitants, is host to more than one-fifth
microbus routes that currently use the
of Egypts population. It is the largest urban The World Bank-supported study in part, to
corridors (306 routes). They then estimated
area in Egypt, Africa and the Middle East address traffic congestion, including
the changes that would arise from an
and among the most populous metropolises improvements to the citys bus system,
increase in speeds (and operations) in these
of the world. The GCMA is also an important making it easier for residents especially
routes. The analysis demonstrates that with
contributor to the Egyptian economy in the poor to better access jobs, health,
improved bus operations, the corridors
terms of gross domestic product (GDP) and education and other services.
could increase the number of jobs available
jobs. The population of the GCMA is
within 60 minutes of total commuting time
expected to further increase to 24 million
by as much as 20 percent. Once the corridor
by 2027, and correspondingly its
improvements are finalized and operations
importance to the economy will also
between routes have been coordinated,
1.24 million jobs may be accessible in the
same amount of time in the best-case
scenario; further evidencing a potential
projects to help disadvantaged groups
access more formal income-generating
opportunities within the same travel time.

In determining employment accessibility,

the team calculated the efficiency of the
Recently, the World Bank embarked on a labor market by estimating the percentage
study of the Cairo area and bus routes using of total jobs available within a 60-minute
digital maps, General Transit Feed commute for the average Cairo resident
Specification (GTFS), and satellite imagery. using only the public transportation
To analyze the accessibility implications of network. The results below show the
improving bus corridors in Cairo, the team increase in the efficiency of the labor
estimated employment opportunities that market that can be achieved with the
the transport network makes available in corridor improvements for all of Cairos
each part of the city both before and after a residents and specifically for the poor
Despite the massive efforts by the Egyptian
potential improvement project. Combining population (see Table 1).
government to tackle traffic congestion and
travel times for every origin destination
environmental deterioration, by introducing
point with the spatial distribution of Similarly, the same technique was utilized
a metro system and a comprehensive bus
employment, population and other to determination the accessibility of other
network, traffic congestion remains a
opportunities, the team calculated the destinations/locations in the city. The
serious problem in the GCMA with
number of job, or other opportunities that population accessibility calculates the
substantial adverse effects on personal
travel time, vehicle operating costs, air
quality, public health, the business
environment and business operations. The
causes of traffic congestion are complex, as
are the range of possible policies and
investments that could be implemented to
address the problem.

In recognition of the seriousness of the

problem of traffic congestion, and upon the
request of Government, the World Bank
funded an investigation into its magnitude,
causes, and potential solutions in the
GCMA. The objective of the study was to
conduct a macro-level investigation of
congestion in the GCMA: its magnitude,
amount of people that can travel to a Furthermore, the team over-laid this Thus, big data can contribute to analyzing
specific location within a 60-minute travel information with the location of educational and implementing transportation solutions
time. The results show that the residences and health centers (extracted from for cities around the world, including Cairo.
of poor people are made much more OpenStreetMaps) to highlight the fact that
accessible with the implementation of the the locations made more accessible by the
corridor improvements (see Map 2). corridor include most of the educational
and health facilities in the city (see Map 3).

Table 1: Efficiency of the Labor Market

Current Network With Corridor Improvements
(number of people) (number of people)
People Poor People People Poor People
Current Operations 329,264 320,003 675,681 627,621
With Operational Improvements 498,676 476,487 1,246,820 1,142,532

Current Network
With Corridor Improvements
(in % terms)
(in % terms)
People Poor People People Poor People
Current Operations 7.99% 7.77% 16.40% 15.23%
With Operational Improvements 12.10% 11.56% 30.26% 27.73%

Source: Author calculations; Population: WorldPop; Employment census.

Map 1: Number of Jobs that can be accessed within 60 minutes of Travel Time (from candidate corridors)

Source: Author calculations; Population: WorldPop.

Map 2: Increase in Number of People able to reach a Specific Destination within 60-Minutes Travel Time (after the implementation of
project with operational improvements)

Source: Author calculations; Population: WorldPop.

Map 3: Increase in Number of People that can reach Health and Education Facilities within 60-Minutes Travel Time (after the
implementation of project with operational improvements)

Source: Author calculations; Population: WorldPop; Points of Interest (POI): OpenStreetMap (OSM).
Big Data
Putting Big Data Innovation
into Action at the World Bank
A United Nations publication figure). For example, a pilot to
speaks of a data revolution that use satellite remote sensing to
is underway in the field of predict crop yield was
economic development one discovered through a practice-
that is driving waves of data- level challenge. The program
driven innovation and awarded funding and technical
experimentation. At the World assistance to support field
Bank, too, there has been a studies to validate and
marked increase in the use of calibrate the approach in
data from satellites, ground Uganda.
sensors, social media and mobile
phones to capture development The program also helped to
trends and provide insights. feature the approach in
knowledge exchange events by
The pace of the data revolution sharing the early results and
creates challenges for any large building coalitions around the
organization. These new solutions. Once the solution is
applications require testing and validated, the program works
validation to ensure the to productize the knowledge
solutions are robust. For that is capturing the data
instance, socio-economic arrangements, algorithms,
insights derived from mobile good practice, and learning
resources to help World Bank practices and
phone data may be prone to biases that materials into knowledge and code
teams incubate and scale big data solutions
must be rigorously understood and 1 repositories so others can easily
for development effectiveness . To date,
corrected. Big data also presents significant understand, reuse and adapt the solution.
the programs data scientists have
practical challenges and requires the
supported over thirty operational pilots,
upgrading of skills and technologies to The big data revolution is a stimulus for
including those profiled in Big Data
access, manage and analyze the data. In organizations such as the World Bank to
Innovation Pioneering Approaches to Data-
short, operationalizing a capability in big 2 upgrade development solutions into our
Driven Development . The program also
data is a process of learning by doing one increasingly connected and data-filled
works through broad engagements with the
that involves data scientists, economists, world. The big data program has learned
World Bank Global Practices. It combines
and sector specialists working together to that big data is a team sport. Putting big
several activities, including pilots,
approach solutions and challenges in an data solutions into practice requires
workshops, events and other knowledge
interactive manner. collaboration and persistence between data
initiatives to accelerate broad-based action
scientists, technologists and sector
to operationalize big data capabilities in the
In response to the challenges of the big data specialists in a process of learning by doing.
various Global Practice areas.
revolution, the World Bank launched
Innovations in Big Data Analytics in 2014. Footnotes
Taking a big data solution from idea to scale 1
The program delivers data science 2
can be understood as a process of 3
expertise, knowledge services, and technical
Discovery, Incubation, and Scale (see

Discover Incubate Scale

Discover research opportunities to Pilots are done in operational settings to Integration into institutional processes,
accelerate solutions test and validate methods. country systems and public goods.
through competitions, Productize and curate data, algorithms,
workshops, and events. knowledge, learning,
and cases for ease of reuse.
Knowledge Exchange includes workshops,
conferences and knowledge activities
to position for scale.


2017 World Government Summit

Big Data in Action Workshop

The 2017 World Government Summit had as The World Banks Governance Practice
Technology and globalization are sources its theme: Shaping Future Governments. partnered with the Big Data Program in
of disruption and creation... The World Government Summit is the Global Operations Knowledge Management
But the transition from technological largest global platform dedicated to and SecondMuse to deliver a Big Data in
promise to the solution of public sector exploring the future of governments driven Action workshop and high-level panel. Both
problems is not going to happen by technological advances and evolving activities explored the opportunity to use
automatically. citizen expectations. As such, it showcases big data applications in government service
It will require effort on the part of future trends in government services, delivery, policymaking, and citizen
governments to better articulate what leadership, and innovation. The summit engagement.
problems technology could help them solve, brings together over 3,000 world leaders,
an enabling policy environment for policymakers, academics, and key The workshop gathered 25 big data experts
technological solutions, better public-private representatives from international from the public and private sectors to
partnerships and, lastly, a mindset and organizations from over 130 countries. It advance thinking on these areas. The
cultural shifts to form the right attitudes for creates an exciting opportunity to exchange workshop included:
change. information about innovations and
experiences, and builds strong networks of Seven lighting talks featuring case stories
Renaud Seligmann collaboration. The World Government of big data in government.
Governance Practice Manager, Middle East Summit is organized in partnership with key
and North Africa, World Bank Group international organizations including the An exercise to identify high priority areas
United Nations, the World Bank, the for applications of big data within service
International Monetary Fund (IMF), the delivery, policy-making, and citizen
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and engagement.
Development (OECD), the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Team-based exercises to design practical
Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations big data prototypes in areas such as public
Foundation, and the World Economic health, transport, government integrity/
Forum. accountability and jobs.

The World Bank Governance Global Practice

(GGP) supports client countries to help them Main Insights
build capable, efficient, open, inclusive, and
accountable institutions. This is critical for Big data is not just about the size or
countries to underpin sustainable growth, quantity of the data now available. It is also
and is at the heart of the World Banks twin about how governments use data-driven
goals of ending extreme poverty and capabilities to gather citizen feedback about
boosting shared prosperity. services, and then put it into action to
achieve more responsive and proactive
service delivery. It enables governments to
continuously improve public service delivery
and build citizen trust.

As governments look into adopting the

use of big data, we need clear regulations
and guidelines developed for data use, data
ownership, privacy, civil liberties and

The private sector is generally the owner

of the most valuable datasets. Public-
private data collaboratives are emerging
that provide access to private sector data
for both the public and social good. These
arrangements will be critical in moving
forward to ensure that big data can be
accessed and responsibly used.

Big Data Immersion

The first half of the workshop provided

participants with a grounding in big data in
Governance. Seven lightning talks were

Stefaan Verhulst, Co-founder of GovLab,

spoke about the role of data collaboratives
in making data more liquid. He highlighted
the impact of data collaboratives in the
following five areas: situational awareness
and response; public service design and
delivery; knowledge creation and transfer;
prediction and forecasting; and impact
assessment and evaluation. He shared
examples in which big data was used for:
emergency response in Nepal; improving
access to electricity in India; and preventing
new outbreaks of Ebola in West Africa. He
also noted six key incentives for the private lie ahead in terms of machine learning and limited engagement and understanding that
sector to share data: reciprocity, research convergence of data, and emphasized the data analysts had with regard to the general
and insights, reputation, revenue, need for new business models and data population.
regulatory compliance, and responsibility. licensing agreements.
Brooke Partridge, Chief Executive Officer of
Rhiahanan Price, Director at Digital Globe, Steve Adler, Chief Data Strategist at IBM, Vital Wave, spoke about some of the
spoke about the value of high resolution spoke about the importance of paying challenges that are evident in the area of
imagery and geospatial analytics for attention to culture, emphasizing that when public-private partnerships in big data. They
governments. She shared Digital Globes we try to adjust the culture to change with include the lack of: an evidence base;
work in household enumeration to help technology; our results are not as good as regulatory and policy frameworks;
governments prioritize deployment of they would be if we adjusted technology to sustainable, scalable business models for
resources to curb malaria. In Zambia, this fit the culture. He shared lessons from his the private sector to see opportunities; and
work involved crowdsourcing to narrow time serving as Chief Data Officer for the local and global capacity. She spoke of the
down the dataset and cover over 500,000 city of Medellin, Colombia. His experience role governments can play in improving
square kilometers in four months. She also planning a data show for the citys residents such partnerships particularly by:
shared her teams work in helping the illustrated the importance of understanding contributing to and requiring relevant use
Indonesian government prevent forest fires and addressing the habits and cases and case studies; articulating the
from spreading by leveraging characteristics of different segments of value of data use to partners, civil servants,
crowdsourcing, high-resolution short-wave society. Among other things, this included and citizens; embracing risk-mitigation
infrared imagery, and real-time analytics. understanding the local populations strategies relating to privacy rather than
She spoke too about the opportunities that schedules, their perception of the value of keeping a distance; and cultivating data
data in their lives, as well as reasons for the science as a skill set.
segment speeds, and data on dangerous
intersections and road quality.

Linus Bengtsson, Director at Flowminder,

spoke about how the organization uses big
data to support vulnerable populations
around the globe by providing data on the
number of people, their characteristics, and
their mobility through high-resolution maps.
He shared how the organization combined
traditional household surveys with micro-
censuses and extrapolation to help the
government of Afghanistan build population
models in the absence of a census. He also
explained how the organizations
capabilities complement traditional sources
of data with estimates of land cover,
temperatures, night lights, tweets, mobile
movements, and so on.

sharing, creating a data mindset, and

Chan Cheow Hoe, Chief Information recruiting and retaining talent. He also
Workshop Outcomes
Officer, Government of Singapore, spoke of highlighted opportunities for governments
Overall, the workshop highlighted the
how the Government of Singapore uses big and the private sector to turn data into a
potential and need for public-private data
data for data-driven decision making. In one service and to use data for dynamic
collaboratives to unleash data for the public
case, the government estimated the level of resource allocation.
and social good. Participants also agreed
economic activity in an industry by analyzing
that while data accessibility is key, data can
patterns in water and power usage, as well Daniel Szomoru, Data Scientist, Uber, spoke
only be as useful as the public sectors
as transportation patterns to and from the about Uber Movement, a website that uses
capabilities to put it into action to improve
industrial zone. In another case, the the constant stream of data generated by
service delivery and build trust. Lastly, the
government used data aggregated from Uber users to help urban planners make
workshop also highlighted the need for clear
commuter travel cards to better understand informed decisions about their cities. He
regulations and guidelines for data use,
commuter travel patterns and design shared current and future capabilities and
ownership, privacy, civil liberties, and
express bus lines thereby reducing citizen insights that such data can provide
travel times and traffic congestion. He spoke including zone-to-zone travel times, traffic
of the governments challenges around data patterns at different times of the day, street

World Government Summit

High Level Panel Government of the Future
The Promise of Big Data Applications for Governments

Edouard Al-Dahdah The term big data refers to the vast

amount of information now being
The rise of big data requires new capacities
and processes to translate insights into
Senior Economist, World Bank
generated and captured in a variety of action.
formats and from a number of non-
traditional sources. Big data is a term widely Harnessing the power of big data is the next
Introduction used to describe the exponential growth of frontier for governments. Big data analytics
data, particularly the data flowing from uses data science and machine learning for
Ninety percent of all world data was only mobile phones, satellites, ground sensors, better understanding, tracking and
produced in the last two years . In 2020, and social media. It also explains the rise of prediction of trends to improve government
forty-four times more data will be produced the computing technologies and algorithms delivery of public services in areas such as
than in 2009 . Today, an average person is that use big data for valuable insights. In the education, procurement, public safety,
exposed to as much data in one day as a public sector, big data typically refers to the transportation, taxation and civic
person in the 15th century would see in use of non-traditional data sources and data engagement without compromising
his/her entire life . innovations to make government solutions citizen rights and privacy.
more responsive and effective.
Deborah Wetzel, Senior Director,
Illustrating how big data, data science Governance Global Practice, World Bank
and predictive analytics can drive
development in a range of issues and Singapore Chief Information Officer, Cheow
sectors. Hoe Chan, explained how the Government
of Singapore is using real-time data from
Showcasing the need to motivate. ground sensors and Radio-Frequency
Identification (RFID) chips to improve public
Institutional arrangements (public- transport and citizen mobility. He also
private partnerships, citizen shared an example of Singapores
engagement) to ensure big data is experience in estimating the level of
accessible and responsibly used for economic activity in its semiconductor
development purposes. industry in real time by combining data on
World Government Summits water usage, power usage, and
Government of the Future held in Promoting a responsible approach in transportation patterns in a particular
the use of big data and related industrial area.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates technologies in a way that is respectful
of privacy rights. Intel Director of Corporate Strategy,
The annual World Government Summit,
Brandon Barnett, discussed strategy in
held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates,
brought together some 4,000 participants
Audience terms of systems transformation. He spoke
about how big data can help us not only
and over 100 global leaders from over 120
Audience participants included government to find answers to questions we know to ask
countries around the theme of
officials, private sector representatives, civil but also to understand what questions
Government of the Future. It is the
society organization (CSO) representatives, we should be asking, particularly given the
highest-profile, annual global event
United Nations and World Bank Group staff, complexity of the world we live in. Big data,
organized in Dubai. The World Bank
and the media. with its capacity for granularity and texture,
supported the Government of the UAE in
allows for analysis of the myriad factors in
gathering the global knowledge for this
complex systems, and how we might
years World Government Summit.
catalyze change in each of them.
World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim,
Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Planet, Robbie Schingler, spoke about how
Managing Director, Christine Lagarde,
advancements in sensor technology and
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio
High-Level Panel satellites can aid and improve the decision-
Gutteres, and United Nations Development
making capacities of governments and civil
Programme (UNDP) Administrator, Helen
society organizations. He noted, in
Clark, delivered the keynote addresses. In this high-level panel, ministers, leading
particular, the value of timely, granular
They exchanged insights with private sector business executives and the World Bank
spatial data for effective action on issues
leaders, including Elon Musk, Chief Group shared their vision for how big data
ranging from food security, to water
Executive Officer (CEO), of Tesla and Space will inform and transform governmental
security, and urban and population growth.
X, and Reid Hoffman, CEO of LinkedIn. They decision-making, deliver new services and
highlighted the rapid and accelerating pace help solve complex problems that were
Senior Director for the World Banks
of change confronting governments all over once thought to be impossible. The World
Governance Global Practice, Deborah
the world a world in which artificial Banks high-level panel and technical
Wetzel, shared examples of how the World
intelligence, augmented reality, micro- workshop dealt with the topic of Big Data:
Bank is using big data to improve service
satellites, self-driving cars and personal The Next Frontier of Government.
delivery in public health and procurement
aerial vehicles are either production ready,
reform. She underscored the importance of
or will be much sooner than expected. Organized by the Banks Global Governance
public-private partnerships and strong
Practice and Big Data team, the high-level
institutional environments to shape the
Purpose and Objectives panel was moderated and chaired by BBC
responsible use of big data for the public
technology correspondent Roly Cellan-
good, as discussed in the World Banks the
The objective of this high-level panel was to Jones. Joining the panel to discuss how big
2017 World Development Report.
discuss the state of big data in government data can contribute to smarter, more
and the opportunities to utilize it to responsive public services, policy design,
improve the delivery and design of public and civic engagement were:
services. Key themes included: 1
SINTEF. "Big Data, for Better or Worse: 90% of World's
Cheow Hoe Chan, Government Chief Data Generated over Last Two Years." ScienceDaily.
Exploring the role of big data and big Information Officer, Singapore ScienceDaily, 22 May 2013.
data methodologies, such as advanced 17.htm>
analytics in improving the delivery and Brandon Barnett, Director of Corporate 2
CSC. Big Data Universe Beginning To Explode
development of public services (sample Strategy, Intel Corporation <
sectors explored include: 3
BBC. Cities: How Crowded Life Is Changing Us, 15
transportation, financial regulation, Robbie Schingler, Co-Founder and Chief May 2013.<
public security, and environmental Strategy Officer of Planet


Big Data and

When speaking on the phone or buying
clothes online, people contribute to the
nearly 2.5 quintillion bytes of data that are
produced worldwide every day. Today, data
are everywhere. Indeed, we are at the
beginning of the Industrial Revolution of
Data. Those quintillion bytes of data are
used by companies, non-governmental
organizations (NGOs), and governments to
analyze an array of behaviors and linkages,
including buying habits, traffic patterns,
movements of refugees, and correlations
between food and fuel prices.

Governments are increasingly using big

data, or very large datasets, to improve
transparency and accountability in public

Public Procurement kinds of firm information, such as financial strategies that brought about significant
disclosures and political affiliations, to savings in the public procurement process.
determine patterns or correlations. These in
Public procurement is the process through
turn could lead to an awareness of how Big Data in MENA
which the public sector purchases goods,
public funds are spent and potentially
services, or works from the private sector. It
drive policy reforms.
is a key economic activity of governments, The Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
totaling approximately US$9.5 trillion region has not yet fully embraced the use of
The State of Amazonas in Brazil is one
annually. As such, it is vulnerable to big data in either the public or private
example of how the public sector is using
corruption. In this regard, it is estimated sector. However, given the positive
big data to improve performance in
that 20-25 percent of procurement funding outcomes from the State of Amazonas in
procurement. Data from more than 150,000
is lost to corruption in developing countries. Brazil, governments in MENA and elsewhere
contracts and 450,000 payment processes
Big data has the potential to be should be encouraged to use big data to
were analyzed and showed that the
transformational in public procurement improve their public procurement systems.
government was able to save a statistically
because it could bring to light fraud or Indeed, public procurement is a key
significant amount of money in bidding
corruption in the procurement process. economic activity for the MENA region
processes with six or more bidders, as
Alternatively, it could be used to improve estimated at 15-20 percent of gross
compared to processes with fewer than six
performance and service delivery and domestic product (GDP). This makes it
bidders. The analysis of the data also
drive down the costs of goods that vulnerable to corruption. Governments in
indicated that in certain sectors
governments purchase. For example, an the MENA region, including Egypt, Jordan,
procurement took longer, and that certain
analysis could be conducted on data used in Morocco and Tunisia, are making efforts to
factors were leading to many small
government bidding processes, such as improve their public procurement systems.
purchases. This resulted in the adoption of
which firms bid and which firms win In this regard, the World Banks MENA
contracts. Big data can also include other procurement team is also working to
improve transparency and accountability in well-governed public procurement systems. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
(OECD). 2016a. Strengthening Governance and
public procurement, including support for It needs to be part of a holistic, Competitiveness in the MENA Region for Stronger and
public procurement reforms, modernization comprehensive approach to improving More Inclusive Growth. See:
of public procurement frameworks, and public administration. This includes: governance-and-competitiveness-in-the-mena-region-for-
building capacity of procurement among modernizing legal frameworks; stronger-and-more-inclusive-growth-9789264265677-
civil servants. implementing e-procurement; adopting ______. 2016b. Stocktaking Report on MENA Public
open data standards; and involving citizens Procurement Systems. See:
Major milestones have been achieved. For in the public procurement process. Thus, big NA_Public_Procurement_Systems.pdf
example, in Morocco, public procurement data in public procurement remains a ______. 2010. Private Sector Development in the Middle
East and North Africa. United Nations Development
decrees that incorporate international best relatively new phenomenon, and has the Programme (UNDP). 2016. Data-Driven Innovation:
practices have been enacted. Despite a potential to have a transformational role in Middle East and North Africa. See:
general improvement in public procurement improving procurement performance and nter/events/2016/february/big-data.html
systems across the MENA region, though, service delivery. United Nations Global Pulse. 2014. Mining Indonesian
Tweets to Understand Food Price Crises. See:
there remain a series of challenges many
of which big data could help resolve. Fazekas, Mihaly. 2015. Corruption in Public
According to a 2013 Organisation for Procurement. See: ______.2012. Big Data for Development: Challenges and
Economic Co-operation and Development avenue/2015/9/16/7-mihaly-fazekas
Opportunities. See:
(OECD) survey of MENA governments, areas IBM. Bringing big data to the Enterprise. See: orDevelopment-UNGlobalPulseJune2012.pdf
that continue to require improvement International Anti-Corruption Conference. 2016. Using
World Bank. 2016. Making Procurement Smarter: Lessons
from the Amazon. See:
include: transparency in procurement; Data and Transparency to Change the Game in Public
Procurement: New Initiatives from Local and Global
preventing and detecting irregularities and Players. See:
_______.2013. Financing for Development Post-2015.
corruption in procurement; strengthening data-and-transparency-to-change-the-game-in-public- See:
accountability; and improving the McKinsey Global Institute. 2011. Big Data: The Next
professionalization of the public Frontier for Innovation, Competition and Productivity. World Bank Group. 2014. Big Data in Action for
procurement function. See: Development. See:
innovation 20for%20Development%20Report_final%20version.pdf
Big data alone will not necessarily bring The National. 2015. Big data can play an immeasurable
World Economic Forum. 2012. Big Data, Big Impact: New
role in helping Middle East firms to compete globally.
about the transparency and accountability Possibilities for International Development. See:
that is needed to create well-functioning, can-play-an-immeasurable-role-in-helping-middle-east-

Leveraging Big Data

to Help Competition Agencies Tackle
Anticompetitive Behavior

Georgiana Pop
Senior Economist, World Bank
Andrew Michael Whitby
Data Scientist, World Bank


Big data data that is vast at an

unprecedented scale comes from a range
of new and old sources. It is extremely high
in frequency and can now be analyzed and
combined in very sophisticated ways. In this
regard, it has the potential to augment the
efforts of institutions like the World Bank
Group working to deliver high-impact
development solutions to countries around
the world. investment climates, improve data gaps and inform policymaking. For
competitiveness in sectors, and foster example, pilot projects underway in the
Within the Bank Groups Trade & innovation and entrepreneurship. Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice
Competitiveness Global Practice, are exploring the use of data science
investigating the potential of big data for Big data solutions have the potential to techniques to harness publicly available
development is a worthwhile pursuit in accelerate this work by deriving timely, government data to aid competition
supporting countries to boost their volume accurate, and actionable insights from authorities in systematizing information on
and value of trade, enhance their alternative data sources in order to close anti-competitive practices. This also
includes mining Internet data to measure from public sources such as competition to ensure the credibility and quality of the
innovative economic activity in cities so that authorities websites, the media, and data collected.
agencies can make better informed policy specialized international organizations and
decisions. consultancies. Moreover, building and The second stage, which is in progress,
maintaining a repository of this data "by involves the extraction and structuring of
Of course, there are limitations to hand" is time consuming and it can yield this information so that it is ready for
operationalizing big data to inform this imperfect results. analysis.
work navigating privacy policies and
other challenges to access, for example. Innovation In the third phase, the Team hopes to use
However, it is worth pursuing because big this database to gather insights about anti-
datas potential can support the World Bank Using machine-learning techniques and web competitive behavior. This could potentially
Groups goals of ending extreme poverty scraping, this project aimed to automate include: (i) snapshots of anticompetitive
and promoting shared prosperity. the collection and organization of key behavior by product/market type; (ii)
information about anticompetitive practices network mapping and analysis to identify
Project Summary from sixteen pilot countries. companies linked to previous record-
holders across different markets,
Anticompetitive practices have been found The database would allow competition jurisdictions, and geographies; and (iii)
to yield negative effects on productivity authorities to better understand, detect, likelihood analysis of potential
growth in developed and developing and take actions against actors that anticompetitive behavior for companies
economies alike. Cartels across the world, systematically engage in anticompetitive with links or previous records, and so on.
for instance, negatively impact consumer practices. At the World Bank Group, it
welfare through price overcharges on the would allow the Competition Policy Team to Lessons Learned
order of billions of dollars. However, further develop its analytical tools and
detecting these practices requires a better systematize its body of evidence regarding 1) Allocate time and resources to
understanding of the nature of such the effects of anticompetitive practices in communicate domain knowledge with
anticompetitive practices across various developing economies. technical experts. Machine-learning
markets and jurisdictions. This is not an easy and web-scraping expertise needs to
task. Currently, competition authorities and Further, this initiative could potentially be be complemented by a transfer of
researchers who study effects of expanded to the analysis and domain-specific knowledge to
anticompetitive behavior may have to implementation of other policies, for technical experts. In this context, the
gather this data manually, which is both example, state-aid control policy and team found it important to allocate
time-consuming and inefficient. investment policies. sufficient time and resources to make
explicit to technical experts the sector-
In response to these challenges, the World Process and Results specific terms and analytical
Bank supported a special project on approaches/ practices used.
Leveraging Big Data to help Competition The team initially started out with a set of
Agencies Tackle Anticompetitive Behavior countries where competition authorities 2) Human oversight is crucial in ensuring
(undertaken by the Trade & had published documents in either quality. There is no perfect analytical
Competitiveness Global Practice, Trade and English or Spanish relating to technique when it comes to
Competition Unit, Competititon Policy anticompetitive practices. This initial set unstructured data because so much
Team). The project aimed to develop a was narrowed down to sixteen pilot depends on the quality of documents
database of key decisions by the countries for which a comprehensive set of available online. Since there is a lot
competition authorities relating to records about past decisions was available. that needs to be taught (inputted) to
anticompetitive practices. Using machine The pilot focused on the following sixteen the machine, the human factor is very
learning and web-scraping techniques, the countries: Albania, Argentina, Bosnia- crucial in ensuring the quality of
project automates the collection and Herzegovina, Botswana, Chile, Costa Rica, outputs. For example, while a human
organization of data from sixteen pilot India, the Former Yugoslav Republic of expert may intuitively place the terms
countries. The database would serve as an Macedonia, Malaysia, Moldova, Pakistan, cartel, price agreement, and
essential infrastructure for future Peru, Romania, Serbia, Seychelles, and horizontal agreement in the same
visualization and analyses to identify signals Uruguay. category of anticompetitive practice, a
of anticompetitive behavior. machine has to be explicitly taught
In the first phase of the project, the team that this is the case. Disaggregating
Challenge worked with a partner organization with what a person does into concrete steps
technical expertise in machine learning and and feeding it to the machine takes
Data on anticompetitive practices is an web-scraping to scan thousands of pages of time both in terms of algorithm
integral part of competition authorites documents and gather semi-structured data design and cross-checking. Therefore,
work. For example, in the case of cartels, about anticompetitive practices. This the process cannot be entirely
such data may cover data about market involved the creation of an algorithm that automated at this time.
characteristics, specific regulations, drew relevant information from 5000
conduct, decisions, and sanctions imposed documents including the actors involved, 3) Anticipate adjustments to time-frame.
by the competition authorities. However, type of anticompetitive practices, From database creation to completing
often, competition authorities do not yet products/markets affected, decisions taken, complex analyses, each phase of the
have ready access to cross-market, cross- and sanctions, if any. This phase required project builds on the previous one. The
jurisdictional data on all types of the imposition of both automated and Team found it important to factor in
anticompetitive practices. This is because manual checks, as well as troubleshooting, additional time so that quality can be
this type of data is often collected manually adequately ensured throughout the
project lifecycle.
Big Data

Big Data Innovation Challenge: Pioneering Approaches to Data-Driven Development

World Bank.

Big data can sound remote and lacking in human dimension. There may be few obvious links to development and
impact on the lives of the poor. Concepts such as anti-poverty targeting, market access or rural electrification seem
far more relevant and easier to grasp. Yet, some of todays most groundbreaking initiatives in these areas rely on
big data. This publication profiles these and more, showing how data on an unprecedented scale has the potential to
improve lives in unprecedented ways. The featured case stories illustrate the diverse range of big data applications in
development. For the World Bank, with its twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity, big
data is big news and this is just the beginning. The Big Data program brings together data scientists, social scientists
and sector specialists in a work program with two main objectives: (i) to accelerate organizational capabilities in big
data analytics for use in research and operations and to help the World Bank Group better work toward ending
extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity; and (2) to position the World Bank Group as a leader in the use of
big data solutions in development. The program aims to scale early pilots into projects that solve significant
development challenges, and to establish best practices for using big data analytics to steer evidence-driven
development. Launched in September 2014, the Big Data Innovation Challenge has been key in encouraging big data
approaches. Exceeding all expectations, it attracted 131 innovative proposals and awarded 14 with funding and
expertise to enable big data analytics in their projects. The winning initiatives cover an exciting range, from using
satellite imagery to improve poverty mapping, to mining social media data to understand political sentiment, or
cellphone data to increase the use of banking services. Others promote traffic flows or accountable road building,
anticipate crop yields, predict violent crime and promote registration of land rights. This publication profiles 16
extraordinary initiatives from the Innovation Challenge winning teams and finalists. The case stories examine the
application of big data analytics and how it can help achieve project goals.

Big Data in Practice: How 45 Successful Companies Used Big Data Analytics to Deliver
Extraordinary Results
by Bernard Marr

Big data is everywhere. Everyone understands its power and importance, but many fail to grasp the actionable steps
and resources required to utilize it effectively. This book fills the knowledge gap by showing how major companies
are using big data every day from an up-close, on-the-ground perspective. From technology, media and retail, to
sport teams, government agencies and financial institutions, the book highlights the actual strategies and processes
being used to learn about customers, improve manufacturing, spur innovation, improve safety and so much more.
For each company profiled, the book explains what data was used, what problem it solved and the processes it put
into place to make it practical. It also includes technical details, challenges and lessons learned from each unique
scenario. Predictive analytics helps companies such as Amazon, Target, John Deere and Apple understand their
customers. Big data has also been behind the success of other companies such as Walmart, LinkedIn, Microsoft and
others. Further, big data is changing medicine, law enforcement, hospitality, fashion, science and banking.

Big Data: The Beginners Guide to Understanding the Analytical World

by Ronald Davis

The world of business is changing at an ever-accelerating rate. Businesses that choose not to adopt the latest
technologies are destined to suffer the consequences of obsolescence. The best way for small- to medium-sized
businesses to improve profits and secure their future is through adopting data analytics and using big data to improve
automation and solve optimization problems. Hidden within the data that are already collected for businesses lies
solutions to all types of questions. From understanding the best hours for businesses to keep, to managing payroll,
big data and data analytics can vastly improve the efficiency of any business. This concept has been well known to the
worlds largest businesses, but for years has been gated behind the cost of expensive software solutions. Today there
are more software solutions for small- and medium-sized businesses than ever before.
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