Seminar: Data as the new oil? The developmental potential of big data for African countries

Please note that this seminar starts earlier than usual, at 15:00.
On a continent where states have long struggled to count their populations, mobile phones and smart cards have become a surveillance infrastructure, making African citizens more visible to governments, businesses and development organizations. ‘Big data’ (high-volume, digital-born data) has been heralded as a developmental resource, with commentators stressing its potential in predicting crises and better targeting aid. But if data really is the new oil, we might also consider its potential for state- and market-building. This presentation situates big data in its broader developmental context by examining the use of mobile phone and smartcard data in smallholder agriculture and informal urban transport.

Laura Mann is an economic sociologist whose research focuses on the political economy of markets and state-building in Africa. She received her Masters and PhD from the Centre of African Studies at the University of Edinburgh and a BSc in Environmental Policy and Economics from the London School of Economics. Before joining the ASC, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford.

Date, time and location

11 June 2015
15.00 - 16.30 Please note that this seminar starts earlier than usual.
Pieter de la Courtgebouw / Faculty of Social Sciences, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden
Room 3A06 (third floor)