Data Visualization

Blog of the Data Visualization & Communication Course at OSB-AUB

This is my favorite part about analytics: Taking boring flat data and bringing it to life through visualization” John Tukey

Achieve – Lebanon

Achieve – Lebanon

ACHIEVE – Lebanon: Leveraging Fixed Wireless Access in 5G to Boost Agriculture and Drive Economic Growth

Lebanon’s economic downturn witnessed since 2018 has been characterized by a sharp decline in GDP (Dashboard Chart: GDP Growth – Lebanon) that was boosted by the economic crisis in 2019 that impacted all sectors and has lead to a stagnation in all the employment sectors. On the other side, over the past years Lebanon has seen a notable shift in employment from agriculture and industry towards the services sector (Dashboard Chart: Employment per sector – Lebanon).

Fixed Wireless Access as a Solution
Fixed Wireless Access refers to a wireless communication technology that enables high-speed internet connectivity to fixed locations. In the context of Lebanon’s agricultural sector, FWA can be a game-changer. By harnessing the power of 5G networks, FWA provides a scalable and quick solution for delivering reliable broadband connectivity to remote agricultural areas.

As it is visible in the dashboard below, Fixed Wireless Access subscriptions are expected to increase on a global scale mainly under 5G, and with the increase of Mobile subscriptions (visualized over Middle East and Africa Region) we can place Lebanon on the Map of Digital transformation becoming a main player in adopting latest technology use cases.
We can mention some of the Pros of Fixed Wireless Access that can be taken into consideration in ACHIEVE initiative in Lebanon, mainly due to the need of a low cost, quick and scalable solution:

1. Broad Coverage: FWA allows for the expansion of internet connectivity to areas where it may be challenging or cost-prohibitive to lay traditional wired infrastructure. It is particularly beneficial in rural or remote regions, bridging the digital divide and connecting underserved communities.
2. Quick Deployment: Compared to deploying physical cables, FWA can be implemented relatively quickly. It requires less time for planning, permitting, and physical installation, making it an efficient solution for rapidly providing internet connectivity to areas with urgent needs.
3. Cost-Effective: FWA can be a cost-effective solution, especially in areas where wired infrastructure installation is expensive or logistically challenging. It eliminates the need for costly underground cables, reducing upfront expenses and overall deployment costs.

Enhancing Agricultural Productivity
By implementing FWA in rural areas, Farmers can access real-time data, weather forecasts, market information, and precision farming techniques, enabling them to make informed decisions. This increased access to information and resources empowers farmers to optimize their operations, reduce waste, and improve yields.

As FWA enables remote agricultural areas to connect to the digital economy, it opens up new employment opportunities. Additionally, the adoption of digital technologies in agriculture, such as smart irrigation systems, automated monitoring, and data analysis, will drive demand for specialized skills. This, in turn, generates employment opportunities for the local workforce, reducing unemployment rates and contributing positively to the economy.

By improving agricultural productivity and creating employment opportunities, the sector becomes a key contributor to economic growth. As agricultural output increases, it fuels the supply chain, stimulates local markets, and boosts export potential. The multiplier effect of a thriving agricultural sector has the potential to revitalize the overall economy, leading to increased GDP and a path towards sustainable development.


Girls Not Brides-The Blossoming Freedom

In a rural village, a young girl full of dreams, was forced into an early marriage due to her family’s belief that it would secure a better future. Her education was cut short, limiting her potential to contribute to society. As the village’s literacy rate remained low, so did their GDP per capita reflecting the country economic situation. The cycle of poverty seemed unbreakable. Child marriage perpetuated the cycle, as girls were denied the opportunity to receive an education and develop valuable skills.

We planned to embed the world-wide best practice to fight this behavior and limit its exposure. The starting step is to recognize the importance of education and empowerment. Our role is to promote challenging the practice of child marriage, advocating for girls’ rights and investing in their education. Moreover, our duty is to provide life skills training and empowerment programs for girls at the age of 15 years. Other strategies should not be limited to the awareness and advocacy but to be extended to community engagement.

We have realized that after implementing the strategies, the literacy rate had increased, unlocking the potential of both girls and boys. As education flourished, so did the village’s GDP per capita. The correlation between breaking the chains of child marriage, education, and economic prosperity became evident.

The practice will become a model for progress, inspiring neighboring communities to follow suit. Child marriage gradually diminished, and more children, especially girls, were given the chance to pursue education and contribute to their society.

Through their determination and understanding, the village shattered the chains of child marriage, enabling a brighter future for generations to come. The investment in education proved to be the key to breaking the cycle of poverty. The correlation between ending child marriage, increasing literacy rates, and boosting GDP per capita was a powerful reminder of the transformative power of education and gender equality.

Refer to Graph I:

The percentage trend of women married or in union before age 15 has been gradually declining in many regions, although the pace of progress varies. The exact trends may vary from country to country and even within regions.

the global prevalence of child marriage has declined in recent years. The proportion of women aged 20-24 who were married or in union before age 15 dropped from 12% in 1995 to 6% in 2020. This indicates progress in efforts to reduce child marriage globally.

Some countries have shown significant declines in child marriage rates. For example, in South Asia, where child marriage rates have historically been high, countries like Bangladesh and Nepal have seen substantial reductions in child marriage prevalence over the past decade. In Sub-Saharan Africa, progress has also been observed in countries like Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Malawi.

However, it’s important to note that despite the overall decline, child marriage remains a significant issue in many regions, and there are still areas where progress has been slow or stagnant. Continued efforts and targeted interventions are necessary to further accelerate the decline in child marriage rates and achieve the goal of eliminating child marriage by 2030, as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals.

Refer to Graph IV:

It’s important to note that child marriage can occur in different regions and countries other than subsharan Africa and South Asia. What’s crucial here is to direct the efforts to combat child marriage that should be tailored to address the specific cultural, social, and economic factors that contribute to the practice in each region.

It’s important to note that child marriage rates can change over time, and more recent data should be consulted for the most accurate information. Here are some countries that have historically had high child marriage rates:

1.Niger: Niger has one of the highest child marriage rates globally. According to UNICEF, about 76% of women aged 20-24 were married before the age of 18, and approximately 28% were married before the age of 15.

2.Chad: In Chad, child marriage rates are also significant. Around 68% of women aged 20-24 were married before the age of 18, and approximately 17% were married before the age of 15.

3.Bangladesh: Bangladesh has one of the highest child marriage rates in South Asia. Approximately 59% of women aged 20-24 were married before the age of 18, and around 22% were married before the age of 15.

4.Central African Republic: In the Central African Republic, child marriage rates are high, with about 52% of women aged 20-24 married before the age of 18, and around 17% married before the age of 15.

5.Mali: Mali also has a significant child marriage prevalence. Approximately 52% of women aged 20-24 were married before the age of 18, and around 16% were married before the age of 15.

6.South Sudan: In South Sudan, child marriage rates are high, with approximately 52% of women aged 20-24 married before the age of 18, and around 14% married before the age of 15.

It’s important to note that child marriage is not limited to these countries, and it occurs in various regions worldwide. Efforts are being made globally to address this issue and reduce child marriage rates through legislative measures, education programs, and community engagement.

Refer to Graph II & III:

It’s important to understand that the correlations can vary across different countries and regions. Cultural and social factors, as well as specific policy interventions, can also influence the relationship between child marriage and these indicators. Additionally, other factors, such as social norms, legal frameworks, and access to healthcare, also play significant roles in determining child marriage rates.

Efforts to address child marriage often focus on promoting education, economic opportunities, and gender equality. By improving literacy rates and fostering economic growth, societies can contribute to reducing child marriage rates and ensuring the well-being and empowerment of young girls.

The correlation between child marriage and GDP per capita as well as literacy rate can provide insights into the relationship between these factors. It’s important to note that correlation does not imply causation, but examining the association can shed light on potential patterns. Here is a general overview:

1.GDP per capita: There is evidence to suggest that there is an inverse correlation between child marriage and GDP per capita. Higher GDP per capita generally corresponds to lower child marriage rates. As countries experience economic development and improved living conditions, families may have greater resources and opportunities, leading to a decrease in child marriage rates. Economic empowerment can provide families with more choices, reduce poverty-driven motivations for child marriage, and increase access to education.

2.Literacy rate: There is a strong correlation between child marriage and literacy rate. Higher literacy rates are generally associated with lower child marriage rates. Education plays a crucial role in empowering individuals, particularly girls, by increasing their awareness of their rights and options. When girls have access to education and are encouraged to complete their schooling, they are more likely to delay marriage and pursue their personal and professional aspirations.

Efforts & Actions – till 2030

Efforts to eliminate child marriage have been ongoing at various levels, including international organizations, governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and grassroots initiatives. While complete eradication of child marriage is a complex and long-term goal, significant progress has been made, and various strategies are being implemented to address the issue. Here are some key efforts:

1.International Conventions and Declarations: International conventions, such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, highlight the importance of addressing child marriage and protecting the rights of children and women.

2.National Legislation: Many countries have enacted laws to raise the minimum age of marriage, strengthen child protection laws, and provide legal frameworks for combating child marriage. However, enforcement of these laws remains a challenge in some regions.

3.Awareness and Advocacy: Organizations and activists are working to raise awareness about the negative impact of child marriage on individuals and communities. They engage in advocacy efforts to mobilize support, change social norms, and promote gender equality and girls’ education.

4.Girls’ Education and Empowerment: Education is a crucial factor in preventing child marriage. Efforts are being made to improve access to quality education for girls, enhance school retention rates, and provide life skills training and empowerment programs.

5.Community Engagement: Engaging with communities, religious leaders, and local influencers is vital to address the root causes of child marriage. By promoting dialogue and community-led initiatives, it becomes possible to challenge traditional norms and beliefs that perpetuate child marriage.

6.Economic Empowerment: Programs that promote economic opportunities for girls and their families can contribute to reducing the economic drivers of child marriage. This includes vocational training, entrepreneurship support, and income-generating activities.

As for when child marriage is expected to be eliminated, it is challenging to provide a specific timeline. However, there is a global commitment to ending child marriage under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically Target 5.3, which aims to eliminate child, early, and forced marriage by 2030. Achieving this goal requires sustained efforts, collaboration, and continued commitment from all stakeholders involved.

The Great Recession in 2007 – 2009

The Great Recession in 2007 – 2009

Throughout history, the global economy has experienced several periods of recession. Their occurrence can be influenced by a multitude of factors including economic cycles, financial crises, etc
The occurrence of recessions is not uniform across all countries or regions.
In the past seven decades, the world economy has experienced four global recessions: in 1975, 1982, 1991, and 2009.
The World Bank analysis found that real GDP per capita and other global economic metrics fell, disrupting economies and financial systems worldwide.

The Great Recession r efers to a significant and widespread economic downturn experienced by various national economies worldwide, spanning from the latter part of 2007 to 2009 The recession exhibited variations in scale and timing across different countries, as evidenced by the low percentage of Real GDP growth during this period, as depicted in the map below:

The transition of U.S. housing market from boom to bust, resulting in a significant devaluation of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and derivative financial instruments.
The inability of banks to extend financial resources to businesses, coupled with the inclination of homeowners to prioritize debt reduction over borrowing and consumption, contributed to the onset of the Great Recession.
(GDP) experienced a significant decline in 2009, reaching its lowest point in the majority of the top 20 countries globally.

Could a Financial Crisis Happen Again?
Despite measures to avert a similar crisis, the financial sector is nevertheless vulnerable:
– high levels of debt in the global economy.
– Use of complex financial instruments, such as derivatives, which can be difficult to understand and value.
– The interconnectedness of the global financial system Lack of effective regulation
– Despite the central banks control and the new regulation, there are still gaps particularly in the banking sector regulations.
It is essential to remain vigilant and continue to strengthen the resilience of the financial system to reduce the risk of another crisis.

References :

GCC Global Ambitions

The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, also known as the Gulf Cooperation Council ‘GCC’, is a regional, intergovernmental, political, and economic union comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Led by the efforts in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait, traditional energy countries of the GCC are embracing renewables faster than ever before.

The root causes behind such transformation go to the higher consumption of electricity per capita in the GCC (compared to other regions in the world), an increase in GHG emissions due to the increase of CO2 emissions (around 40% of energy-related CO2 are due to the burning of fossil fuels for electricity generation) hence increasing global warming, and forgone revenues from subsidizing 40% of the electricity generation cost that cannot be ignored.

The story will detail the strategy followed by EU countries that increase renewable installations and thus benefit from covering their domestic consumption of energy. Such viability of this strategy was the reduction in CO2 emissions by 8% in the last year.

Despite that WDIData indicators don’t give us an updated current installation of the renewables in the GCC but it is evident that each of the GCC countries expedited their strategies; for instance, Kuwait installed 70MW as a mix of Solar, Wind, and CSP. KSA and UAE contribute to the highest portion of Renewable installations: KSA installed 1 GW and 15GW under construction (Solar + Wind) while UAE installed 3.5GW (Solar) with 2 GW under construction.

Due to the implementation of Renewables, GCC countries will benefit from the following:

  1. Renewables are the most practical and readily available climate solution due to the reduction in CO2 and GHG emissions.
  2. Renewable energy is the most competitive form of power generation in the region due to the competitive prices breaking the world record by 1.7 cents per kWhr.
  3. Sustainable economies by producing more jobs and boosting healthier economies.
  4. Renewables save water: Water scarcity is an acute challenge in the region, with four of the six GCC countries ranking within the top 10 most water challenged on earth according to the World Resources Institute.   And with of the fastest-growing populations in the world, the region’s demand for water is expected to increase fivefold by 2050. IF the GCC countries were to realize their renewable energy targets, this would lead to an estimated overall reduction of 17% and 12% in water withdrawal and consumption, respectively, in the power sectors of the region. Renewables are currently part of any desalination project to bring down the SPC (specific power consumption) by 2.7kWhr/cubic meter due to the production of part of the power consumption through renewables.

Realizing the importance of implementing renewables, GCC governments set plans to increase renewables contribution to power production such as the Kuwait 2030 plant to generate 15% of the power needs through renewables, 2035 vision in KSA aims to generate 30% of the power demands through renewables.

The Syrian Refugee Crisis

The Syrian Refugee Crisis

The Syrian refugee crisis is one of the world’s biggest challenges. The war in Syria destroyed the country, killed and injured thousands of people, and displaced millions into other countries. Asylum countries are suffering from this crisis and facing many challenges. The continuation of the war will not spare the west and especially Europe because the smuggling of migrants via death boats will not stop but will increase if no serious actions were taken.

The main result of the Syrian war was the large displacement of Syrians to foreign countries. It is creating a big refugee crisis that needs direct measures to be taken to end the war. Millions of people were affected and spilled into surrounding countries. The continuation of the war has displaced more than half of Syria’s population from their homes, and an estimated 15.3 million Syrian nationals will need emergency aid in 2023. An average of 4.6 million refugees per year were outside Syria between years 2011 and 2021.

Since the beginning of the war in 15 march 2011, the number of Syrian refugees started increasing. The numbers increased quickly and significantly each year by year especially between 2011 and 2017. After year 2017, the numbers increased slightly and the numbers were approximately the same. In the first six years, the war was very violent and tough, this obliged many Syrians to flee from the country and search for safer places in foreign countries.

The root cause should be tackled and a peaceful settlement should be forced by great nations to end the war. Under the supervision of the UN, voluntary repatriation for Syrian refugees should be offered and those who don’t wish to return to their home country should be offered a chance to move to a third country because asylum countries like Lebanon for example can’t bear the refugee crisis anymore. Big nations should take responsibility and unburden the effects of the Syrian migration on Asylum countries by financially supporting them and by finding alternatives.

Parties who are part of the Syrian war should be brought into serious and continues discussions and meetings to reach an amicable solution that makes no party in a stronger position. Guarantees must be provided for people who wish to return to Syria and safe areas must be secured for them. Direct actions to increase the financial aid given to hosting neighboring countries of Syria like Lebanon and Jordan for example should be a priority. Syrian refugees as well must be offered a chance to move to third countries like USA, Canada, and the EU.

An immediate fair assessment of the refugees should be done to determine those who are in danger if they return to Syria and those who aren’t. Refugees that are still in danger, should be offered a chance to move to third countries that can provide them with a decent life like stated before. At the same time, the reconstruction process should start to encourage refugees to return to their homeland. The Financial support to hosting countries like Lebanon must be in terms of contributing to the development of the infrastructure especially in the sectors of electricity, water, sanitation, public Healthcare, and Education.

We must ensure that all kinds of support must be given for the sake of the Syrian people. All great nations that have their influence in Syria must put an end to this war because extremism and terrorist groups won’t spare any foreign country from their attacks. Neighboring countries and Lebanon one of them are on the edge of social collapse due to the financial and political instability. Thus, direct support must be granted to such countries and the EU along with the USA and Canada should open their doors for resettlement for refugees. If not, illegal immigration via death boats and smuggling of migrants will not stop but instead will rise significantly especially to European countries.

The war in Syria brought destruction, death, poverty, and immigration. The whole world because of globalization is a small village and any war in any place will have effects on other countries. The Russian-Ukrainian war is a good example since the whole world economy is affected. Peaceful means of solving disputes should always be the option because violent extremism is a long-term effect of war and it will generate terrorism that won’t spare humans or countries. The Recommendations and solutions proposed above for the Syrian refugee crisis should be taken into consideration in order to stop the suffering.