The UNCTAD E-Week 2023 conference, held at the Centre International de Conférences de Genève (CICG) in Switzerland from December 4 to 8, highlighted the imperative need for robust data governance in developing countries.
A pivotal session hosted by the Nigeria Customs Service, represented by CSC DO Anikoh and CSC OF Obieze, aimed at fostering dialogue on adopting and implementing a Data Governance Framework aligning with international best practices.
The session brought together experts from the public and private sectors to discuss the paramount aspects of accuracy, security, and standardization in data governance. DHL’s Steven Pope emphasized the necessity of stringent controls on data sharing to prevent misuse. At the same time, the Universal Postal Union’s Javier Garcia stressed the importance of national data governance frameworks aligning with global provisions.
The comprehensive discussion covered various critical facets, including fair compensation for data analysts, the role of data analysts in specialized agencies, addressing data quality and integrity, challenges faced by startups in accessing real data, and the opportunities and challenges of accessing private company data for policy-making. International regulation to prevent data misuse emerged as a key theme.
The consensus from the discussion underscored that data governance is fundamental to digital transformation. Developing countries were urged to manage data on a macro, regional, and international level. The session emphasized the vital role of data sharing and usability between the private sector and regulatory institutions, addressing privacy and security concerns while promoting sustainable development and mutual benefit.
Implementing data governance policies in the private sector was crucial for gaining trust, establishing guidelines, and balancing privacy with innovation. The session called for government support and awareness-raising about data governance policies.
For e-commerce supply chain businesses, data governance was recognized as essential to reduce risks and ensure data accuracy. It involves understanding data structure, protecting accessed data, and using standards and technology. Legal frameworks, like the USMCA in Latin America and Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs), were highlighted as necessary to prevent unauthorized disclosure.
The discussion emphasized that data storage is a global issue for agencies, and data governance streamlines management, improving efficiency. Government and regulatory agencies were urged to adapt to changing data governance, especially mobile money and e-commerce data systems.
A robust data governance system, balancing standardization, harmonization, and simplification, was deemed crucial. Facilitating cross-border data flows was discussed, with higher-level standards like the GDPR seen as beneficial, although concerns about non-uniform standards were acknowledged.
The session concluded with a recommendation for regulatory institutions in developing countries to adopt data governance frameworks or seek assistance from international bodies like the WTO and WCO to encourage responsible data sharing with private stakeholders. The overarching message was clear: robust data governance is paramount for navigating the complexities of the digital era, promoting economic growth, and ensuring a fair, secure, and mutually beneficial global data landscape.