IGF 2023 Day 0 Event #196 Leave No One Behind: The Importance of Data in Development.

Sunday, 8th October, 2023 (09:00 UTC) - Sunday, 8th October, 2023 (10:00 UTC)
WS 10 – Room I

Data Governance & Trust
Cross-border Data Flows and Trust
Data Free Flow
Data Localization, Data Residency, and Data Sovereignty
Data Privacy and Protection

Data Governance & Trust
  1. Wisdom Donkor, Africa Open Data and Internet Research Foundation (AODIRF)
  2. Prof. Lee W.  McKnight, Associate Professor, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University, USA
  3. Danielle T Smith, College of Arts & Science, Syracuse University, USA.
  4. Yusuf Abdul-Qadir, Adjunct Faculty Syracuse University School of Information Studies
  5. Kwaku Antwi, Africa Open Data and Internet Research Foundation
  6. Jane Asantewaa Appiah-Okyere, Doctoral Candidate, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University
  7. Zanyiwe Asare, Digitally Legal, South Africa

Draft Agenda / Speakers

  1. Welcome and Introduction (Moderator)
  2. Opening remark: Prof. Danielle T. Smith, Syracuse University, USA
  1. Discussions                     
    1. Component 1: Addressing data gaps, Encouraging data use and encouraging and strengthening the data ecosystems.
    2. Component 2. Leveraging on technology and Community Networks and making sure data gets to everyone.
  1. Moderators / Speakers

Moderator: Yusuf S Abdul-Qadir, Syracuse University, USA

Online Moderator: Lahari Chowtoori, Syracuse University, USA

Rapporteurs: Jane Appiah-Okyere and Lindsey Ama Benewaah Bonsu  


    1. Victor Ohuruogu, Senior Africa Regional Manager, UN Foundation Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD)
    2. Kwaku Antwi, Africa Open Data and Internet Research Foundation (AODIRF)
    3. Prof. Lee W. McKnight, Associate Professor, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University, USA
    4. Hon. Samuel Nartey George, Member of Parliament, Ghana
    5. Dr. Uzma Alam, Science for Africa Foundation
  1. Q & A                                                                                            
  2. Highlight and closing remarks, Moderator
Onsite Moderator

Yusuf S Abdul-Qadir, Syracuse University, USA

Online Moderator

Lahari Chowtoori,


Jane Appiah-Okyere and Lindsey Ama Benewaah Bonsu


1. No Poverty
2. Zero Hunger
3. Good Health and Well-Being
4. Quality Education
5. Gender Equality
6. Clean Water and Sanitation
7. Affordable and Clean Energy
8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
10. Reduced Inequalities
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
12. Responsible Production and Consumption
13. Climate Action
14. Life Below Water
17. Partnerships for the Goals

Targets: Decision-makers require data and statistics that are precise, timely, suitably disaggregated, pertinent, available, and simple to use in order to fully implement and track progress on the SDGs. Over time, both the quantity and quality of data have gradually increased. Data literacy needs to be improved at all levels of decision-making, and statistical competence still needs to be strengthened. The data producers and users from various data ecosystems will need to work together on this. In order to handle the many difficulties of sustainable development, it will also necessitate the use of creative methods for the production and application of data and statistics.


In order to engage the audience, we'll use the capacity Peer Exchange methodology. This format will start with a quick introduction of data-related concerns on the continent, followed by conversations between a panel of experts and the audience.


Session Description

The global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which came into effect on 1st January 2016, will shape global sustainable development policy through to 2030. In addition to adopting the 17 goals and 169 targets in March 2016, the UN Statistical Commission agreed on an indicator framework to track the SDGs. To fulfil the commitment to “Leave No One Behind” on which Agenda 2030 is based, the SDGs require a nuanced approach to assessing progress at global, regional, national and sub-national levels. This will require robust data production and tracking systems to be built in every country so that achievements at the national and local levels can be assessed and fed into the wider global framework. These national mechanisms must be effective and integrated, and should not only allow for accurate measurement but also be used to inform decisions about resource allocation and policy implementation in pursuit of the goals themselves.

A plethora of data initiatives have been born since, with extensive support from the donor community. A recent stocktake of the data revolution by the EU, GDPRD and IFAD attested that more data are being produced and in cost-effective ways. However, these data have remained in research domains and are not fully used by decision-makers. This is the last mile to be bridged.

This session will be organise around 3 themes, each of which has several objectives:

Theme 1: Addressing data gaps

  • Present the current situation to produce and highlight data gaps.
  • Discuss opportunities to strengthen data regimes.
  • Discuss opportunities to further develop data system with a view to ensuring harmonization, comparability, and quality of data.
  • Present possibilities for using new data/ technology to address identified data gaps and engage new actors.
  • To determine how alignment with national and regional agendas will impact data collection and indicator production and reporting.

Theme 2: Encouraging data use

  • Have an open dialogue with key users on how data produced can better meet their needs.
  • Identify ways to harness the opportunity of the momentum around data for development agendas to strengthen the sharing, accessibility and presentation of data.
  • Raise the profile of data production and use with key stakeholders including policy makers to encourage the use of improved data for evidence-based decision-making and accountability

Theme 3: Strengthening the Data Ecosystem

  • Solidify the multi-stakeholder approach to achieving and measuring development agendas, and create new data communities.
  • Identify and discuss solutions to major funding gaps.
  • Identify and discuss solutions to technological and major capacity gaps.
  • Provide an opportunity for country-to-country learning.
  • Ensure high-level political and policy-maker buy-in for the Roadmap process.
  • Identify key issues for the policy and enabling environment for the data ecosystem.

Inspiring and motivating all types of data users and decision-makers to increase their efforts to use data to inform decisions on policies, programmes, strategies, investments, and the design and implementation of programmes is our hope for the session. The session's success stories of data use will give others inspiration and ideas to try cutting-edge methods to increase data use. Information about hurdles encountered and tried-and-true solutions will be invaluable for those encountering similar challenges and assist people in getting over obstacles.

Links with the SDG targets

To properly implement and monitor progress on the SDGs, decision-makers need data and statistics that are accurate, timely, appropriately disaggregated, applicable, available, and easy to use. The amount and calibre of data have gradually improved throughout time. At all decision-making levels, data literacy must be increased, and statistical proficiency must be further developed. On this, the data producers and users from different data ecosystems will need to collaborate. The creation and utilisation of data and statistics will also require the adoption of innovative techniques in order to address the many challenges of sustainable development.

Expected Outcomes:

  • The identification of significant data gaps, connectivity gaps, and technological gaps, as well as the opportunity for new approaches, data sources, and technologies to solve them.
  • Developing sector-specific and cross-cutting data communities while having a thorough understanding of the data ecosystem in Africa and elsewhere.
  • Determining the most important concerns regarding finance, resources, and capacity to be utilised as inputs for a roundtable with development partners and follow-up actions.
  • Determination of prospects for improving and coordinating the Open Data programme with the SDGs and the future.
  • Determining the issues, commitments, and priorities that will help the Data Roadmap for Sustainable Development moving forward.
  • Identify the most critical gaps hindering the adoption and deployment of community networks and making sure data is available to the community at all times

To successfully host this session, four (4) speakers will be invited to talk at this proposed session to discuss their experiences in closing data gaps and advancing the use of data and evidence to guide decisions on national policies, institutional strategies, investments, and the creation and delivery of programmes. Stories of achievement, difficulties encountered, and tried-and-true solutions will all be discussed. The moderator will set the stage and ask each panellist a question. Following that, each resource person and audience member will participate in a discussion.

Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)

Leave No One Behind: The Importance of Data in Development.

Session Report (* deadline 26 October) - click on the ? symbol for instructions



  • How data is governed properly and protected.
  • Ways of ensuring data governance inclusivity
  • Africa being left behind when discussions are going on based on connectivity
  • Data is expensive, which prevents people from contributing to the data pull and connectivity
  • Trying to close the gap to ensure inclusive internet
  • Individuals do not have a digital footprint because they do not have the funds to purchase smart phones or the data to have access to the internet.
  • Have generic devices that are cost-effective to enable the less privileged have the means to afford them to connect with the world as well
  • The need to know diversity and need for data
  • How do we transform people by giving them access to data?
  • Transform the ecosystem of less privileged communities to get them connected to the internet.
  • Have stronger lead institutions that include communities and women together.
  • Having indigenous knowledge to leverage
  • Development is a major challenge.
  • Identifying the type of data that is needed
  • Issue of capacity, knowledge, and skills in using their infrastructure.