Intelligent CXO Issue 23 | Page 37


Data is the key to unlocking investment for emerging markets

Time spent sat in a traffic jam is time which could be spent better elsewhere . Devin de Vries , CEO at WhereIsMyTransport , a central source of high-quality mobility and location data , explains how transport data can help emerging markets bolster their economy . He explains how the data can map and plan new transport routes , tailored to each and every city .

Over the past few years , the rapid economic growth experienced by emerging markets since the turn of the century has faced significant challenges . In the face of the pandemic , they were forced to be more adaptable than their mature market counterparts , taking on fresh debt . And while many economies have rebounded , recovery has been far from even . If emerging market economies are to return to their previous growth trajectories , then investment will be critical .

Those investments , at least in the cumulative sense , have to be big too . In 2020 , for example , South Africa revealed that it would need just under US $ 87 billion just to finance its infrastructure development needs over the next decade . A year earlier , meanwhile , Bangladesh revealed that it would need around US $ 24 billion annually to meet its infrastructure needs . Those figures , which have undoubtedly climbed in the wake of the pandemic , are mirrored to varying degrees in emerging market countries around the world .
First off , there ’ s the time spent commuting and ultimately lost from an economic productivity perspective . Take Lagos , for example . A 2021 report found that by the time the average Lagosian reaches 55 , they will have spent nearly seven years in traffic . Imagine what you could do and achieve if you were given an extra seven years back . Multiply that by the millions of people who live in the city , and you can see how much of an economic cost traffic represents .
That ’ s to say nothing of the environmental costs ( according to the World Economic Forum , mayors in more than 100 cities have said that investing in public transport could create 4.6 million jobs by 2030 and cut transport emissions ) that come with all that traffic or the mental health costs that place a burden on healthcare systems around the world .
Nowhere is the need for such investment clearer than in the transportation sector . Transport remains at the centre of life in busy and bustling cities . It is what keeps the city moving , getting people from A to B , and ensuring a stable economy . Without efficient , reliable and safe public transportation systems , any attempts at improving a city ’ s economy is futile . This is especially true in emerging markets . But if these markets are to attract the kind of investment they need , data will be critical .
The power of transport
In order to understand why effective transport data is so critical to economic growth in emerging markets , there are a few things worth considering .
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