New surveys reveal dynamism, challenges of open data-driven businesses in developing countries

Open data for economic growth continues to create buzz in all circles.  We wrote about it ourselves on this blog site earlier in the year.  You can barely utter the phrase without somebody mentioning the McKinsey report and the $3 trillion open data market.  The Economist gave the subject credibility with its talk about a ‘new goldmine.’ Omidyar published a report a few months ago that made $13 trillion the new $3 trillion.  The wonderful folks at New York University’s GovLab launched the OpenData500 to much fanfare.  The World Bank Group got into the act with this study.  The Shakespeare report was among the first to bring attention to open data’s many possibilities. Furthermore, governments worldwide now routinely seem to insert economic growth in their policy recommendations about open data – and the list is long and growing.


Geographic distribution of companies we surveyed. Here is the complete list.

We hope to publish a detailed report shortly but here meanwhile are a few of the regional findings in greater detail.

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Is Nurturing Creativity a Luxury or a Necessity for Schools in Developing Nations?

After attending the World Innovation Summit for Education, I’m convinced that creativity matters – particularly as it applies to teaching and learning in developing nations.

The central theme of this year’s summit was “Imagine-Create-Learn: Creativity at the Heart of Education.” Creativity is the process by which we bring together seemingly unrelated ideas to make something – almost anything – new. Creativity is fueled by the passion to seek out meaning from the things we do.

For example, if schoolwork is perceived to be overly abstract and have very little real-world meaning, then students will have very little motivation to learn. This is why creativity plays a central role in both the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers and the International Society for Technology in Education Teacher Standards and Student Standards for learning, teaching, and leading in the digital age. Read more

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Local innovation for improving primary care cardiology in resource-limited African settings: an insight on the Cardio Pad(®) project in Cameroon.

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Local innovation for improving primary care cardiology in resource-limited African settings: an insight on the Cardio Pad(®) project in Cameroon.

Cardiovasc Diagn Ther. 2014 Oct;4(5):397-400

Authors: Noubiap JJ, Jingi AM, Kengne AP


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is an emerging threat to the health of populations in Africa. With the inadequate health infrastructures, understaffed and underfunded health systems, African countries are ill-prepared to cope with the increasing demand for care for CVD, particularly for populations in remote and underserved rural areas, where 60% of the population currently reside. Task shifting and telehealth have been suggested as strategies to overcome the current health workforce shortage in African countries, and to increase access to prevention and curative services for emerging CVD. However, strategies for promoting their incorporation into the existing health systems, have yet to be developed. The Cardio Pad(®) initiative (originating from Cameroon) seeks to provide appropriate solutions to improve the application of telemedicine for CVD prevention and control in remote African settings. The Cardio Pad(®) is a tele-cardiology device which provides a number of advantages in terms of cost, ease of use, autonomy and reduced technology requirements. It is a fully touch screen medical device which enables cardiac tests such as electrocardiograms (ECG) to be performed in remote underserved areas (rural areas for instance), while the test results are transferred wirelessly via mobile phone connection, to specialist physicians who can interpret them and provide assistance with case management. While most of the current telemedicine clinical services on the African continent receive most expertise from developed countries, the Cardio Pad(®), a local invention by a 26-year-old Cameroon-trained engineer demonstrates how much innovative solutions to combat CVD and other health issues could and should be developed locally in Africa.

PMID: 25414826 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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The Hidden Pitfalls of Inclusive Innovation

By Raghav Narsalay, Leandro Pongeluppe, & David Light

A few years ago, a large multinational corporation
developed a new food product
designed for low-income people in emerging
markets. The product was highly nutritious
and low-priced. To win the trust of people
in remote rural communities, the company recruited a sales force
of local women, who in turn developed recipes using the product
and helped teach community members how to prepare those dishes.
A yearlong trial confirmed the product’s potential: consumers
found it easy to use and less expensive than common alternatives.
Success seemed all but guaranteed. Read more

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4 Challenges to Reaching 3.8 Billion Mobile Internet Users in 2020


According to new data released by GSMA Intelligence, 3.8 billion people or half of the world’s population will be using mobile devices to access the Internet by 2020. And where will almost all of the additional mobile Internet users come from? The developing world!

Mobile Internet users in the developing world will double from 1.5 billion in 2013 to 3 billion by 2020, rising from 25% today to 45% of the developing world population that will be accessing Internet services and consuming mobile data for everything from email and web browsing, to social networking and online gaming. Read more

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New Nigerian and African Movie Platform Provides World Class Quality, Features and Apps

You’ve certainly heard of Hollywood. You’ve probably heard of Bollywood. But have you heard of Nollywood? Nigeria’s home-grown film industry is the world’s second-largest in terms of the number of hours of film released each year. The BBC recently estimated the annual value of Nollywood at $5 Billion. And like Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, Nollywood is growing at an impressive rate. Now, NollyLand Direct Ltd, a start-up based in the US and Nigeria, has launched NollyLand – a new Video Streaming Platform that is taking Nollywood and other African film industries to a global audience.

Dr. Ngozi Uti, NollyLand’s Founder and CEO

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Lessons Learned From Working Firsthand in Malawi’s ICT Sector


My name is Herman Fung and I’m a former VSO volunteer in Malawi. In March 2014, I completed an 18-month voluntary placement where I worked with the Ministry of Health to build and implement Malawi’s first national, open source Human Resources Information System for the health sector, called iHRIS.

iHRIS is a suite of web-based health workforce software and it is currently live in 19 countries, supporting over 700,000 health workers.

Our project, iHRIS Malawi, was commissioned by the Ministry of Health in 2012, with support from VSO (funded by THET) and USAID. The objective was to replace a centralized Microsoft Access database, which became defunct partly due to difficulties in collecting HR data in paper form, from far away rural districts to the MoH Headquarters, in the capital city of Lilongwe. Other reasons for its demise include a lack of working computers and limited continual end user training, which was required due to the generally low levels of computer literacy compounded by a very high turnover of staff. Read more

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