Data-Driven Innovation in MENA: The Way Forward

Data-driven innovation in the MENA region: official logo. Image from the IDRC, used with permission.

Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) office in Cairo is organising an exciting set of activities focused on data-driven innovation and digital entrepreneurship later in this month. Taking place between 18 and 23 February 2016 and hosted by Cairo University, the event is a part of the IDRC’s important project “Harnessing the Economic Power of Data in the Middle East and North Africa.”A glimpse at the programme: Data-driven innovation workshop, Cairo 2016. CC-by-SA 4.0

Open MENA has been an active participant to several different facets of the project; our contributions span the initial preparatory workshop to our future first-of-a-kind research on the ‘data revolution’ in MENA. We are ever thankful to the IDRC, to the main project partners at the American University in Cairo and to the other project partners at Al-Akhawayn University (Morocco) and Birzeit University (Palestine) for their trust and for providing us with the opportunity to undertake those efforts.

The Data-Driven Innovation in MENA series of workshops includes a diverse range of activities: ideathons and hackathons for youth, training on data-rich communication for students and professionals alike, and a high-level regional workshop. Many of these activities are in collaboration with the Canadian Embassy, UNDP and ILO (International Labour Organisation) in Egypt.

At Open MENA, we are excited to be actively involved in the run-up to the event, helping out with programme curation and interacting with innovators from Tunisia and Palestine. During the event itself, we will present the major findings of our research on the data revolution potential in the MENA region and provide training for data-rich communication for media students and professionals.

Why is data important, you might ask? As recent research showcases it, (open) data has positive social and political impact: it has contributed controlling diseases, fighting adverse social phenomena, and improving aid effectiveness and public services.

“Data is a renewable resource that can help existing businesses to become more effective and, more importantly, help young entrepreneurs in the region start new businesses, creating new products and services that we could not have thought of few years ago.” (Raed M. Sharif, IDRC’s Senior Program Officer for Technology and Innovation)

Curious about the fine details of the programme? It is being finalised but be sure to keep an eye at where all the details will be released from mid-February onwards.

Posted on: February 4, 2016, by :