Maximising the benefits of data and extractives industries for the poor: Understanding data demand


More and more data around extractives is becoming available. Data made public, in the right format, can be used by citizens to hold governments and companies to account and drive improved development outcomes from mineral resource exploitation.

This report was commissioned by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) in order to provide an analysis of the range of different stakeholders of current and potential users of data to help improve accountability. It is intended to support improvements to transparency in the extractive industries and create enduring positive development outcomes. Three major trends over the past decade are driving the need for this approach:
1. Increasing transparency and accountability in extractive industries – widening and deepening from Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to legislation such as the US Dodd-Frank Act and transparency along the whole extractive value chain.
2. Big Data - mobile technology and the internet, particularly in developing countries, is producing enormous amount of data which was previously unavailable, which also requires new tools and approaches to collate, analyse and disseminate.
3. Recognition of the complex linkages between extractive industries and development outcomes, not just as a source of revenue and jobs, but also for its wider direct social impacts.

Stakeholders with interests in data relating to extractive industries and development can be characterised into five groups:

  • Framework crafters – groups who develop the frameworks for data production and analysis.
  • Data producers – extractive companies and government agencies who are the primary producers of relevant data.
  • Data analysers – predominantly non-governmental groups who collate and analyse information and use the findings to lobby for change.
  • Data users – government agencies and others responsible for making evidence-based decisions to manage extractive industries and development outcomes.
  • Public citizens – citizens who are affected by or have an interest in extractive industries.

Key messages from this report include:

  • Look at the whole picture; transparency is needed along the whole value chain.
  • Improved data standardisation is needed in order to make data comparable and enable linkages between different data sets to be made.
  • Increased technical and resource capacity of data analysers is needed in order to make the most of big data.
  • Data users need specific tailored information; ‘data dumping’ needs to be avoided.
  • Public citizens have a largely unmet demand for transparency around more immediate issues relevant to them – extractive industry impacts and development outcomes.


Awolowo, A.; O’Keefe, E. Maximising the benefits of data and extractives industries for the poor: Understanding data demand. Evidence on Demand, UK (2013) 19 pp. [DOI: 10.12774/eod_hd047.may2013.awolowo;okeefe]

Maximising the benefits of data and extractives industries for the poor: Understanding data demand

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