The South African Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

World Economic Forum Launches Initiative to Enable Equitable and Trusted Use of Data for Global Common Good

  • World Economic Forum announces today the first-of-its-kind global initiative on designing a governance framework to responsibly enhance the societal benefit from data  
  • Individuals, private enterprise, civil society, research and government institutions will all benefit when data assets are exchanged to stimulate the transition from traditional to data-driven economies
  • The initiative is critical to ensuring that currently inaccessible data is available to solve key challenges, such as optimizing responses to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • With over 50 global partners from 20 countries, including 10 governments, the Data for Common Purpose Initiative aims to drive innovation in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution by accelerating the trustworthy and equitable use of data to unlock value
  • Learn more about the initiative here

San Francisco, USA, 8 December 2020 – Governments, researchers and the healthcare industry have always relied on the insights data provides to make decisions that benefit the public good, a challenge emphasized by the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking to the future, data will be a major component of rebuilding the economy and responding to these issues.

With over 50 partners from 20 countries around the world, the Data for Common Purpose Initiative (DCPI) is building a foundational governance framework. The framework will refocus data policy and models towards common purposes that will enable differentiated permissioning of the same data, depending on context. Such flexible data governance models could enable government-led data exchanges that can promote a transition to a data-driven economy.

“Some 25 quintillion bytes of data are created each day. All of this information can yield powerful insights but we have not been able to access and use these data in a meaningful way,” said Nadia Hewett, Project Lead, World Economic Forum. “This initiative aims to unlock data from existing siloes and create opportunities for both public good and commercial benefit.”

Historically, institutions and existing policy and regulatory models have attempted to balance data protection with business incentives. The DCPI will reorient governance to the realities of data sharing, developing a framework to enable access to data for intended and agreed upon purposes, without compromising individual privacy rights. 

“It is impossible to foresee all the potential uses for data at the moment it is created or provided. Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies are on a path to enable differentiated permissioning of the same data, dependent upon permitted purposes. In collaboration with the global project community, the DCPI will co-design frameworks to ensure that a person’s data cannot be used for non-permissioned purposes, that their rights are recognized and respected, and that economic benefits and risks are appropriately allocated across a more complete set of stakeholders,” said Sheila Warren, Head of Data, Blockchain and Digital Assets, World Economic Forum.

By highlighting opportunities for unlocking data for common purposes, the DCPI aims to enable the repurposing and reuse of data across public and commercial sectors.

“Data for common good can only flourish if the Forum and DCPI can foster a data trust strategy and mindset. The actionable challenge is twofold. How can we agree on common principles to govern and protect data? How can we envision new ways of exchanging data that place the right value on data contributed by all? Addressing these challenges is key to unlocking the true value of data for a common purpose,” said Sean Joyce, Global and US Cybersecurity, Privacy & Forensics Leader, PwC US.

This multi-year initiative will explore policy, technical and commercial enablers for a flexible and ethical data governance framework. In addition to incorporating best-in-class building blocks, such as policies, toolkits and protocols, the DCPI will pilot projects with public and private sector partners to test and inform its governance framework. These pilots extend across domains such as agriculture, energy, health, environment, mobility and others. This way, DCPI helps to advance the overall data field through what is otherwise individual and independent efforts or projects.

Key pilot projects include:

A pilot run by the Government of Colombia is developing a first-of-its-kind, government-led data marketplace to more easily connect data contributors and consumers.

Meanwhile, the Government of Japan is working alongside the private sector to explore data exchanges available to address challenges in public health, medicine and elderly care, and to extend applications to disaster prevention and traffic safety.

Located in Norway, the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Ocean use the advances in new technologies to improve the environmental footprint of ocean industries.

Collaborator quotes:

“Data exchanges can help people and societies get the most out of the digital age, unlocking value, driving economic growth and spreading the benefits more equitably. The Japanese government has been actively exploring the adoption of data exchanges and welcomes this important new global initiative,” said Takuya Hirai, Minister for Digital Transformation, Government of Japan.

“The Data for Common Purpose Initiative is about finding new ways to unlock the power of data to solve global challenges. We look forward to helping shape an approach that empowers consumers, ensures they benefit from data-driven innovations, and encourages organizations to be accountable stewards of consumer data – protecting it and respecting privacy. Through DCPI, we have an opportunity to help unlock the potential benefits of levering data to support the growth of economies and the prosperity of consumers everywhere, while guarding their privacy rights,” said Melissa McSherry, Senior Vice-President, Global Head of Data Products and Solutions, Visa.

“Our world is on the cusp of transformations in system architecture, governance and economic theory. In the new data-driven socioeconomic paradigm, our collective prosperity will ultimately rest on how effectively we are able to harness the power vested in data. Blockchain and the decentralized systems it supports will act as the critical catalysts that allow us to realize the benefits of DCPI without compromising the integrity of our social fabric,” said Donald Bullers, Global Technical Lead, Elastos Foundation.

“A data-driven economy is needed now more than ever. The full value of data is essential to driving an economic rebound in the wake of COVID-19. People across the world, along with governments, civil society and the private sector, want to use data for public good. The World Economic Forum is uniquely placed to bring together the public and private sectors to co-create a governance framework that facilitates responsible data exchange and removes unintended policy barriers to its use,” said Alice Gast, President, Imperial College London.

“The role that data plays in our economy and lives is increasing every day – the work done on the DCPI will play a key role in understanding how to build effective data marketplaces from both the technology and policy perspective. Fujitsu believes that Data is one of the main emerging components of the global economy and are happy to participate in this important initiative,” said Catherine Mulligan, Vice-President and Chief Technology Officer, North and West Europe, Fujitsu Services.

“From the data marketplace approach, we are crowdsourcing the operational and regulatory frameworks of data exchange, preserving the protection of users’ rights and promoting novel digital business models. In the long term, the initiative will mature the concept of data markets as a standard practice for public and private sector advancement, or even individual’s growth,” said Victor Muñoz, Presidential Advisor for Digital Transformation and Economic Affairs, Government of Colombia.

“Data policies and models that are developed should serve a common purpose to ensure the Fourth Industrial Revolution does not just benefit a select few but has social impact and addresses our country’s challenges,” said Khungeka Njobe, Group Executive, Business Excellence and Integration, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa, and Co-Lead of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution South Africa.

“We are excited about the prospects of sharing data for common purposes. In the financial services sector, we have seen the immense benefits of open-source data standards in making data shareable for a common purpose. Open-source data standards enable the use of technology to easily share data between financial institutions and regulators for the common purpose of achieving financial stability through transparency,” said Diana Paredes, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Suade.

“In combating emissions, plastic waste and overfishing, we need to engage and mobilize key players. We are already working with several committed partners in industry, science, conservation and government. The Data for Common Purpose Initiative gives us a solid platform to work from, both in developing content but not the least to engage with ambitious partners from all sectors,” said Bjørn Tore Markussen, Chief Executive Officer, C4IR Ocean, Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Norway.

This initiative builds on the work undertaken at the World Economic Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution over the past two years and is a significant step forward to ensuring that the Fourth Industrial Revolution benefits everyone.

Notes to editors
Read more about the Data for Common Purpose Initiative here
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The World Economic Forum, committed to improving the state of the world, is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. (www.weforum.org).

Media statement on the release of the Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group’s (IFWG) Position Paper on Crypto Assets

As the use of crypto assets continues to grow and evolve, a deeper collective understanding of this area is emerging, and regulators across the globe are formulating regulatory approaches that are proportionate to, and appropriate for, the benefits and risks of crypto assets.

Through the Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group (IFWG), a group of South African financial sector regulators have drafted a policy position paper on crypto assets. The purpose of this position paper is to provide specific recommendations for the development of a regulatory framework for crypto assets, including suggestions on the required regulatory changes to be implemented.

The position paper recommends, among other aspects:
• The implementation of an anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regime
• A licensing and supervisory regime from a conduct of business perspective
• A regulatory regime for the monitoring of cross-border financial flows

This position paper builds on a consultation paper on crypto assets that was first issued by the IFWG on 16 January 2019 (https://www.ifwg.co.za/wpcontent/uploads/2020/02/CAR_WG_Consultation_paper_on_crypto_assetsl.pdf).

The consultation paper highlighted the perceived benefits and risks of crypto asset-related activities, as well as policy proposals for a regulatory framework. It also provided an opportunity for all industry participants and stakeholders to submit comments on the proposals contained in the paper. The comments received were carefully considered in compiling the position paper released on 14 April 2020.

Members of the public and impacted role players and stakeholders are requested to provide comments on the position paper by 15 May 2020. Comments can be submitted by email to innovation@ifwg.co.za.

Access the recently released IFWG position paper on crypto assets here:
https://www.ifwg.co.za/wp-content/uploads/IFWG_CAR_WGPosition_Paper_on_Crypto_Assets.pdf

Notes to editors
Members of the Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group (IFWG) include the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), the National Credit Regulator (NCR), National Treasury (NT), the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

Exhibition on 4th Industrial Revolution opened in Parliament

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has partnered with Parliament to produce an exhibition demonstrating South Africa’s readiness to embrace the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR).

The 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) refers to the current and developing environment in which disruptive technologies and trends such as the Internet of Things and virtual reality are changing the way people live and work.

President Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address on 7 February highlighted the need for South Africa to prepare for the 4th Industrial Revolution, referring to the Presidential Commission he has appointed for this purpose.

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Lechesa Tsenoli, and the Minister of Science and Technology, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, opened the exhibition in Cape Town this morning.

DST entities, including the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), are showcasing research and development in robotics, additive manufacturing, big data, artificial intelligence, e-agriculture and other areas relevant to the new digital age.

South Africa’s response to the 4IR is informed by the country’s socio-economic imperatives, and Parliament has noted that the national system of innovation has been active in developing a range of technologies designed to address real-life South African problems.

Touring the exhibition in the National Council of Provinces Queens Hall, the Deputy Speaker and Minister Kubayi-Ngubane said the DST welcomed the opportunity to demonstrate how science, technology and innovation could contribute to solving the problems the country was facing. For example, new sanitation technologies could enable South Africa to save water and improve the health of communities in remote areas.

“We want to make sure that we are in the centre of development. We want to make sure that South Africa’s economy is driven by innovation, and come up with solutions to help us deal with problems like climate change,” said the Minister, newly appointed to the World Economic Forum’s multi-stakeholder global artificial intelligence council.

Kubayi-Ngubane said that South Africa would use the opportunities of the 4th Industrial Revolution to deal with poverty, unemployment and inequality. New skills will need to be developed for the new industries and markets that will emerge.

Tsenoli said that Parliament had started a programme last year to raise awareness about the importance of the new digital revolution. The exhibition was a good platform to make members of Parliament and the public think about the revolution. Tsenoli emphasised government’s responsibility in this regard, and said that Parliament would continue to work with entities that promoted research and development.

Dr Daniel Visser, research and development manager at the CSIR, said it was important that the country knew how the national system of innovation contributed to socio-economic well-being through the tools and technologies it made available.

“This event with Parliament is an important showcase for agencies and entities in the innovation system to show decision-makers what is available. We need more of these interactions to show the private and public sector what the South African innovation system can do,” he said.

The Chief Technology Officer at Right ePharmacy, André van Biljon, called on government to support local innovations that were tailored for the South African market rather than importing products from abroad.

Right ePharmacy has partnered with the CSIR to develop business opportunities and innovations so that medicines can be dispensed digitally in more cost-effective, convenient and accurate way.

The company’s pharmacy dispensing units work like ATMs, using robotic technology to label and dispense chronic medication. This cuts the waiting periods at clinics and hospitals, relieving pressure on the public health care system.

Over the next four days, the public are invited to visit the exhibition to learn about the 4IR. Schools are encouraged to bring leaners, as they are the knowledge workers of the future and will drive South Africa participation in the 4IR.

Agile Policy Development

We’re co-developing and piloting governance and policy frameworks to keep up with the pace of technology evolution.

National and Global Cooperation for Impact

The Centre draws on private sector, government, academia and civil society to co-design technology governance frameworks.

CSIR SCIENCESCOPE VOL 17: FOCUS ON THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

Read the latest edition of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) magazine, ScienceScope.

This edition highlights some key issues of significance as the country starts to implement its fourth industrial revolution strategy. It also features CSIR people, research and development, as well as infrastructure.

Addressing challenges in South Africa and the Region

We address technology areas relevant to South Africa and our neighbors, that address our societal and economic needs.