Population 2022 (Millions)


HDI Score
2021 (Max. 1)


SDG Score
(Max. 100)


Gender Inequality
Index Score
(Max. 1)


Internet Inclusivity
Index 2022
(100 countries)

Sources: 1. World Bank (2022), 2, UNDP (2021), 3. Sustainable Development Report (2023), 4. UNDP (2021), 5. Economist Impact (2022)


Located in northwestern South America and geographically dominated by the Andes Mountains, Colombia is an ethnically diverse country with around 70% of the population in urban areas, which have faced a rise in insecurity and violence. Though recent years have seen improvements, Colombia is known the world over for the violence associated with its drug cartels, in addition to leftist guerrillas and right-wing paramilitary groups. Additional challenges facing the country include high levels of employment informality and income inequality, as well as regional instability (especially from neighboring Venezuela).


Open Algorithms (OPAL) for Public Data and Good

“Open Algorithm (OPAL) for Public Data and Good” seeked to merge different “privacy enhancing techniques” (PETs), such as federated learning, differential privacy, and negative databases, to allow trusted third parties such as researchers or official institutions to analyze censuses or national surveys’ microdata produced by national statistical offices (NSOs), as well as other administrative records, to derive indicators using these data, while avoiding privacy risks. A pilot was expected to be conducted in Mexico, and DPA plans to expand to additional NSOs and other public data holders in the future.

Professional Training Program “Big Data for Measuring the Digital Economy”

In partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), DPA offered a series of workshops focused on Big Data and the Digital Economy in the Latin American and Caribbean region. These workshops were designed for development practitioners, policymakers, and researchers. Five editions were delivered in: Santiago de Chile (March 2016), São Paulo (September 2017) —in partnership with—, Mexico City (October 2017) —in collaboration with the National Digital Strategy (EDN) program and the MIT Sloan School of Management—, Santo Domingo (April 2019), and Bogotá (May 2019) —in partnership with DANE.

Ciudata Segura

Increasingly, data and information are being promoted as a powerful tool to understand and prevent crime and violence. However, there are two key questions that remain largely unanswered: 1) Why is crime clustering in certain neighborhoods? 2) Why do certain individuals turn to crime and not others? Leveraging sophisticated analyzes about urban crime and violence in Latin America and the Caribbean cities, Ciudata Segura analyzed the local determinants of crime and the role of impunity and social networks in driving criminal behavior through the collection and analysis of official and non-official data sources to produce public policy recommendations and action plans. The project, funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and developed in collaboration with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI), Fundazione Bruno Kessler (FBK), the MIT Media Lab and Citizens Crime Commission, began in 2017 and has resulted in close coordination with local governments and stakeholders, in addition to: the creation of roadmaps, data audits, and capability assessments to determine further interventions; and the production of research instrument for analysis, including a series of surveys and the creation of a visualization tool.

Workshop “Big Data for Sustainable Development and Climate Change”

This series of workshops organized by Data-Pop Alliance, in coordination with GIZ and GIZ Colombia, addressed key terms, necessary tools, and challenges in the Big Data and sustainable development landscape, focusing on the applicability of these information sources in projects related to climate change adaptation and mitigation. This in-person workshop provided an introduction to the “3 C’s of Big Data” as a basis for the development of a Project Lab, enabling participants to incorporate new sources of information in the development of climate change projects.

Characterizing and Analyzing Urban Dynamics In Bogota (from the Paper Series: “Big Data to Address Global Development Challenges”)

Four research papers were developed in collaboration with and funded by the French Development Agency (AFD) between 2016 and 2019 as part of  a joint program with Data-Pop Alliance and research partners, titled “Strengthening the Evidence-Base for Leveraging Big Data to Address Global Development Challenges”. This paper, “Characterizing and Analyzing Urban Dynamics in Bogota”, utilized open data and mobile phone records to identify physical characteristics and socioeconomic conditions in the city which have an impact on crime proliferation. The results indicated that urban diversity and natural surveillance theories play a significant role in the proliferation of crime, and this knowledge can be exploited in urban planning to prevent crime. Key research partners included Fundazione Bruno Kessler (FBK) and the MIT Media Lab.

National Big Data Strategy for Colombia

The MIT Media Lab and DPA provided technical assistance to iNNpulsa—Colombia’s entrepreneurship and innovation agencyand to the National Planning Department (DNP), in the design and development of the country’s first national Big Data strategy, which was presented to the President of Colombia in 2020. After intensive research, DPA produced nine diagnostic documents that were used to identify priority areas and specific actions that generated the necessary synergies to achieve four strategic objectives of the project: 1) Strengthen the Big Data ecosystem in the country, 2) Develop analytical capabilities for greater and better use of data, 3) Foster the digital economy, and 4) Promote the adoption of Big Data solutions and AI for public administration. In that sense, an implementation proposal and two pilot projects in Colombia were completed, along with an impact evaluation and two training workshops.