Online discussion: Who controls the data? Perspectives on digital sovereignty from the Global South

Date: Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Time: 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. EDT / 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. CET

The Heinrich Boell Foundation Washington, DC and Konnektiv, Berlin hosted an online discussion on perspectives on digital sovereignty in the Global South.

Digital technologies are instrumental for global exchange and connectivity – nothing illustrates this better than the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet there is fierce competition over who gets to reap the benefits of cross-border data flows. The United States and China are in a process of decoupling their digital spheres while the European Union is asserting its digital sovereignty by launching Gaia-X, the European cloud.

Countries in the Global South often find themselves on the sidelines of global debates over digital governance. In this event, Geraldine de Bastion introduced our new paper “Data and the Global South: Key Issues for Inclusive Digital Development”, which gives an overview of key issues for inclusive digital development. The panel discussed how societies in low- and middle-income countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America can access the data they produce and put them to good use – while avoiding exploitation or repression by domestic actors.

Speakers included:

  • Geraldine de Bastion, Founder, Konnektiv, Berlin
  • Linda Bonyo, CEO, Lawyers Hub (Tech for Justice), Nairobi
  • Parminder Jeet Singh, Executive Director, IT for Change, Bangalore
  • Joana Varon, Founder-Directress, Coding Rights, Rio de Janeiro/Berlin

Moderated by:

  • Sabine Muscat, Program Director Technology and Digital Policy, Heinrich Boell Foundation, Washington, DC

The Heinrich Boell Foundation Washington, DC is a non-profit organization that is part of the global green movement. The foundation is based in Berlin, Germany, and has a network of over 30 offices around the world. It The Washington, DC office, in line with the foundation’s guiding principles and values, works to advance political and socioeconomic transformations through civic engagement and political dialogue. As an independent 501(c)(3) organization, we run global and transatlantic dialogue programs, and we work to shape multilateral processes and the norms that govern them.

Konnektiv is a Berlin-based agency working at the intersection of technology, collaboration, and social development. We focus on new innovative approaches for international development in the field of digitization. We design, manage, and evaluate development projects in the ICT sector, advise on digital strategy and portfolio management, provide training and facilitation, conduct research and analysis, and program software solutions.