Unleashing the Power of Data-Driven Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the MENA Region
Dr. Raed M. Sharif
Senior Program Officer for the Networked Economies program at IDRC’s Regional Office in Cairo, Egypt
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region continues to show by far the highest youth unemployment rate in the world, reaching almost 30% in 2015. These rates have continued to worsen since 2012, particularly for young women. This is more than double the global youth unemployment rate, stabilizing at 13 % by the end of 2014. At the same time, data, increasingly referred to as the new oil or soil (or even pipes) is helping thousands of entrepreneurs around the world launch new businesses and come up with products and services that we could not even imagine a few years ago. For example, open data is increasingly seen as the foundation on which entrepreneurs can build innovative products and services, big data and analytics are used to improve organizational productivity and effectiveness and crowdsourced data is now gaining more interest and becoming the business model for new entrepreneurial activities.
In this talk, I will discuss the potential social and economic value of data-driven innovation for entrepreneurship and youth employment in MENA and present a framework to realize these tremendous benefits through effective utilization of open, big and crowdsourced data, as well as strengthened organizational and human capacities.