UN World Data Forum: Vodafone’s Angela Mensah-Poku Speaks on Data for Social Good

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Angela Mensah-Poku, Commercial & Digital Operations Director at Vodafone Ghana
Angela Mensah-Poku, Commercial & Digital Operations Director at Vodafone Ghana
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Angela Mensah-Poku, Commercial & Digital Operations Director at Vodafone Ghana, has highlighted the role of data in driving social good at the United Nations World Data Forum. She shared her experiences on a successful public-private partnership, Data for Good, which aimed at using aggregated anonymised data to improve the lives of Ghanaians.

Angela emphasised the importance of collaboration between private organisations and government institutions in generating insights that contribute to community development and socio-economic policy. “When we partnered with Ghana Statistical Service alongside Flowminder, we were able to use this partnership to really drive insight-led decisions,” she said.

The partnership has led to a wide range of use cases, such as disaster planning, tracking the spread of communicable diseases, and providing critical information during the COVID-19 pandemic. Angela also mentioned that the data was used to predict the movement of people during the 2021 census in Ghana, showcasing the potential impact of aggregated anonymised data on policy and resource allocation.

Speaking on the importance of building a data-driven ecosystem, Angela said, “By having the Hewlett team on board, having Flowminder on board, we were able to create a small ecosystem. And then, with our successes with the data, we’ve been able to attract a wider set of partners, whether it’s from NGOs or private businesses, and I think that this encourages the ecosystem to grow larger and inspire more impactful global insights.”

One of the key aspects of the partnership has been capacity building and knowledge transfer. Angela emphasised the need for local organisations to have the skills and ability to access and analyse data, sharing that Vodafone Ghana’s collaboration with the Ghana Statistical Service focused on the development of local skills in data science and related fields.

Angela was joined by other panellists in the discussion: Cathy Riley, Senior Partnerships Director at Flowminder Foundation; Omar Seidu, Head of Demographic Statistics & SDGs Coordinator at Ghana Statistical Service (GSS); Chris Maloney, Director General at William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; and Winnie Kamau, Data Journalist at Association of Freelance Journalists/Talk Africa.

Angela concluded by reiterating Vodafone Ghana’s purpose, “using technology to benefit humanity.” The company’s commitment to the project stems from the belief that insights derived from data can drive social good, improve critical sectors such as healthcare and education, and foster the growth of small and medium enterprises.

The UN World Data Forum, a hybrid event held both in-person and online this year, is taking place in Hangzhou, China. The forum brings together leaders and experts from various sectors to discuss the power of data in shaping the future and creating a more inclusive and sustainable world.

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