IGF 2023 WS #308 Public-Private Data Partnerships in the Global South

Monday, 9th October, 2023 (06:15 UTC) - Monday, 9th October, 2023 (07:15 UTC)
WS 3 – Annex Hall 2

Data Governance & Trust
Cross-border Data Flows and Trust

Organizer 1: Helani Galpaya, 🔒
Organizer 2: Philipp Schönrock, 🔒
Organizer 3: Isuru Samaratunga, LIRNEasia
Organizer 4: Muchiri Nyaggah, 🔒
Organizer 5: Maurice McNaughton, Mona School of Business & Management, University of the West Indies

Speaker 1: Darlington Ahiale Akogo , Private Sector, African Group
Speaker 2: Isuru Samaratunga, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Mike Flannagan, Private Sector, Intergovernmental Organization
Speaker 4: Mona Demaidi, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 5: Philipp Schönrock, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 6: RODRIGO IRIANI, Intergovernmental Organization, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Helani Galpaya, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Online Moderator

Maurice McNaughton, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Philipp Schönrock, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Round Table - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

1. What are the ways in which private sector is contributing to the data revolution? 2. What are the key policy and practice challenges companies, governments and other stakeholders face in attempting to build partnerships around data sharing for the purpose of monitoring/achieving the SDGs? 3. What are the ways of overcoming these challenges – including policy, economic and technical levers that can be used? 4. How do we align incentives of data collectors/holders, data users, data brokers/facilitators? What do different actors need to do?

What will participants gain from attending this session? Through the initial seeding discussion by the speakers and the extensive round-table participation, the participants will a) gain an understanding of the challenges faced when private sector, governments and civil society attempt to form data partnerships; b) the context in which some partnerships may work while others fail; c) an opportunity to diagnose possible improvements to case studies presented by themselves; d) an understanding of the incentives of the various actors; d) economic incentives that may impact behaviours of data owners, data users; e)an opportunity to reflect on the policy changes that will facilitate data sharing while preserving privacy.


Public-private collaborations in the data sphere have the potential to bring transformative changes and facilitate the accomplishment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). When the “data revolution” was first anticipated, there was much fanfare about how private sector data could help governments measure and achieve the SDGs. Many commitments were made. 7 years from the target date for achieving the SDGs, it appears that much of the anticipated potential wasn’t reached. Challenges including lack of economic incentive alignment for various stakeholders, lack of enabling regulation, lack of skills and trust, and other factors appear to have reduced the opportunities for meaningful data sharing. However, a recent mapping study has also found out hundreds of instances of such partnerships. The roundtable brings together a group of stakeholders from the global South (Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Middle East) and from multiple sectors (civil society, government and private sector). They will seed the round-table discussion on the extent to which private sector is collaborating with government and civil society on data related partnerships, specific examples of partnerships, reflecting on the factors that contributed to their success or failure. These participants will present both research as well as their personal experiences pre-conditions for data sharing and data partnerships and the challenges that limit the success of partnerships (including the challenges of complying with privacy requirements of data protection laws; lack of institutional capacities to develop partnerships; lack of operational procedures that facilitate data sharing at a technical level; the different incentives for various stakeholders and so on). The discussion will open up and invite the participants of the round table to provide specific examples of what has worked and what has not when it comes to data partnerships, and enable everyone to pose questions to each other.

Expected Outcomes

1. A policy brief summarizing the key findings of the roundtable that will be circulated to key actors, as part of an ongoing dissemination campaign aiming to increase private sector data sharing 2. Feedback from the roundtable learnings to the research team currently engaged in studying how to catalyse more public-private data partnerships. 3. Session learnings will also shape engagement with private sector and their representative associations, governments, multilateral organizations in developing a roadmap that removes identified barriers and scales up data actions.

Hybrid Format: To facilitate interaction; 1. The initial round of interventions by invited speakers is limited to 30 minutes, leaving 50% of the session (30 mins) audience participation 2. Audience participation will alternate between online vs on-site audience speakers, giving equal billing to those who are participating remotely. 3. The dedicated online moderator will manage the virtual platform and monitor chat rooms, and relay questions and comments that are provided in chat format instead of voice 4. The session starts with quick survey (using Mentimeter) asking the audience the following (or similar) question: “The main reason preventing private sector sharing their data that can help monitor/achieve SDGS is: a) policies preventing data sharing; b) lack of incentives to do so; c) low capacity of governments; d) other 5. Live engagement on social media during the discussion

Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)
1. Public-private data partnerships have tangible benefits, in moments of discontinuity or crisis. But building relationships requires time and trust building, relying on informal relationships and intermediaries. Standard operating procedures may help. Data interoperability also needed. 2. Public-private data partnerships may require cross border data sharing. The regulation of data protection and privacy are important. Political will is key.
Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)
1. Public organizations should prioritize initiatives based on multiple locals needs, including but not limited to, the country’s developmental level, skills, and culture. 2. Private sector: Standard operating procedures should be developed to facilitate monitoring and communication in initiatives, including clear contact points, timelines for periodic updates, resource planning, and fostering an interactive ecosystem.
Session Report (* deadline 26 October) - click on the ? symbol for instructions


IGF 2023 - Day 1 - Workshop Room 3 - IGF 2023 WS #308 Public-Private Data Partnerships in the Global South

This session focused on public-private data partnerships in the Global South, highlighting the practical challenges and possibilities of collaboration between the public sector, private sector, and civil society to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The session began with an introduction, emphasizing the importance of data for monitoring and achieving SDGs. Philipp Schönrock (Director - CEPEI) discussed the need for a supportive environment to foster data partnerships and cited examples of successful initiatives that required building trust and iteratively refining the value proposition.

Isuru Samaratunga (Research Manager - LIRNEasia) summarized key findings from a research on public-private data partnerships in the Global South. The study involved mapping initiatives and conducting in-depth case studies. The study revealed that not all SDGs were equally prioritized, with climate actions, sustainable cities, and good health and well-being being the most focused in the Global South. The study also emphasized the importance of standard operating procedures and legal frameworks, and the role of brokerage entities in facilitating partnerships.

Mike Flannagan (Corporate Vice President, Global Customer Success - Microsoft) mentioned that Microsoft exemplifies the approach of balancing revenue generation with philanthropic activities. The company aligns its work with the SDGs, offering substantial discounts and donations to nonprofits and introducing the Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofits. The collaboration between the public and private sectors hinges on building trust, establishing clear objectives, and finding common ground. It is essential to create incentives and frameworks that mutually benefit both parties, harmonizing their goals and efforts.

Darlington Ahiale Akogo (Founder and CEO of minoHealth AI Labs, MinoHealth AI Labs, KaraAgro AI) mentioned that public-sector entities have extensive reach and assets, such as government extension officers in every district, which private-sector startups lack. The main opportunity lies in leveraging public-sector assets for data and solution creation. Challenges arise due to differences in communication and procedures between the public and private sectors, creating a language barrier. Clear incentives are needed to overcome these challenges. He mentioned successful partnerships in agriculture that collected data across multiple African countries for disease and pest data sets and a partnership in healthcare for interpreting medical images. These partnerships enabled access to large datasets, which would not have been possible without the collaboration. Data protection laws are an important consideration in these partnerships, particularly in healthcare. Further, cross-cultural understanding, access to diverse data resources, and a focus on ethical considerations are pivotal in the context of data sharing and AI research, particularly in a global context. Successful public-private data initiatives require substantial investments in building trust and adaptability. The development of proof of concepts, as well as continuous iterations, plays a vital role in shaping the outcomes of these initiatives, He mentioned.

Dr. Mona Demaidi (Entrepreneur, women’s rights advocate and Lecturer at An-Najah National University) emphasized the importance of international collaboration in AI research due to the need for diverse data resources, pooling computational and talent resources, promoting cross-cultural understanding, and addressing ethical concerns. These collaborations help AI research to have a global perspective and address universal challenges. Challenges in international collaboration include the lack of structured pipelines for data sharing, varying legal frameworks, and the need for transparency in data use and deployment. Data privacy and security are also important considerations.

Rodrigo Iriani (Senior program Manager- The Trust for the Americas) emphasized the importance of building trust and establishing proof of concepts in public-private data initiatives. He mentioned challenges in the Latin American and Caribbean region, where the data ecosystem has limited participation from the public and private sectors. Furthermore, there is a need for capacity building in digital skills and data literacy, promoting co-creation processes and developing local solutions to local problems.

The online and in person audience asked questions related to challenges in forming international partnerships and data interoperability. The discussion then focused towards international standards for data sharing. A participant raised concerns about the lack of uniformity in data regulations, licensing, and accessibility in different countries. The questions centered on how to establish international standards for data sharing and data governance.The speakers replied by highlighting the benefits of accessing diverse data resources, pooling resources, promoting cross-cultural understanding, addressing ethical concerns, and ensuring data privacy and security.

As the session neared its end, the audience engaged in a poll that revealed that a lack of incentives (71%) was the primary reason preventing private sector data sharing, followed by the low capacity of governments (24%) and policies that prevent data sharing (5%).

Helani Galpaya (session moderator, CEO of LIRNEasia) summarized key takeaways: public-private data partnerships have tangible benefits, especially during crises. However, building these partnerships requires a significant time investment and the establishment of trust. Implementing standard operating procedures can enhance these collaborations. These partnerships may also require cross-border data sharing, underlining the importance of strong regulations for data protection and privacy, all of which depend heavily on the presence of political will for their success.

Live engagement through LIRNEasia's Twitter occurred during the session (#sustainabledevelopment, #IGF2023, #datapartnerships).