#ITUdata: key to achieve socio-economic development

To celebrate #WorldStatisticsDay, Cosmas Zavazava looks at how ITU statistics can help achieve the SDGs.

wtis-16-screen2The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes the great potential of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to improve socio-economic development.

#ITUdata helps us accomplish a noble mission: to unlock the full potential of ICTs for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals well before 2030. Today, the world is moving faster and faster towards a digital society and, to this end, comparable and high-quality data and statistics are in high demand.

In measuring the information society, ITU statistics help track progress on the status of access to ICTs, show the rapid technological progress made to date by countries, and help policy makers to identify the people and communities being left behind in the rapidly evolving digital economy. The statistics also help the private sector identify investment opportunities.

Better data means better policy making, and better decision-making mean better results, and better results lead to socio-economic development and uplifting of lives.

Today, there are new emerging technologies such as big data, Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence with the capacity to transform people’s lives in health, education, agriculture, environmental protection, disaster risk reduction and management. This is why we are busy working to come up with the first batch of ICT statistics based on big data which will be published soon. Such statistics will help, among other things, the management of disease outbreak required by humanitarian agencies and NGOs. It helps them see trends and correlations essential for better delivery of humanitarian assistance. We saw this with our big data project for mitigating the Ebola disease.

At ITU we believe, and are committed to continuous improvement in our data collection and processing. This is why we engage in a wide consultative process with countries and experts worldwide. This year, ITU’s annual statistical conference, the World Telecommunications Indicators Symposium (#WTIS2016), will take place in Gaborone, Botswana, from 21 to 23 November. It brings together policy makers at Ministerial level, captains of ICT regulation, chiefs of National Statistical Offices and industry leaders who together debate and map strategies that go beyond the statistical figures. The event endorses new methodologies that are evidence based. This year, WTIS is expected to attract over 500 dignitaries from all over the world.  WTIS offers an opportunity for countries to learn from one another, share experiences in order to implement best practices.

#WTIS2016 will witness the launch on 22 November of our authoritative, Measuring the Information Society Report which contains the ranking of countries according to a basket of ICT-related statistical indicators through the ICT Development Index (IDI). The Measuring the Information Society Report has become one of the most authoritative sources of information and communication technologies data and for monitoring the development of the global information society. ITU also publishes the world’s most widely-used global ICT database.

About the IDI

The ICT Development Index (IDI), which has been published annually since 2009, is used to monitor and compare developments in information and communication technology (ICT) between countries and over time.

The IDI is a unique, impartial, highly reliable benchmark that is widely used, not just by policy makers, but by the world’s telecoms operators, equipment manufacturers and ICT service providers, the global investment community, and experts in academia.

The IDI reports on ICT access, use, and skills around the world, allowing countries to track their ICT development progress year-on-year, as well as measuring themselves against countries of similar socio-economic and geographic conditions and help them identify areas of improvement.

Interested to follow trends in the ICT sector, and know how you could take advantage of emerging technologies in transforming your business, and help your country uplift people’s lives? Join us at #WTIS2016 and get your views heard!

Cosmas Zavazava

cosmasDr. Cosmas Zavazava (Ph.D., LLM, MBA, MA, BBA, Dip. Systems Engineering), is Chief of Department, Project Support and Knowledge Management, in the Telecommunication Development Bureau of the ITU. He is a widely quoted author on information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D), least developed countries and small island developing states, and emergency telecommunications and climate change. He has developed and implemented a host of ICT projects across the globe. He has designed and deployed wireless solutions for development, risk disaster reduction, and disaster management including early warning systems for disaster response.

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