The first session of the big data research workshop focused on what has been done with big data in a development context. To me, one of the most striking points was made by Josh Blumenstock of Berkeley. He showed the time since the last census in a number of countries in Africa (I think the highest was 35 years) and asked how development could be done without this basic knowledge base.
Of the countries that we are engaged with, he included only Afghanistan, which has not had a census for decades for understandable reasons. I checked when Pakistan had last conducted a census. The only reference Google turned up referred to one that was to be conducted in 2016 March.
The basis question is whether the conversation occurring in data-rich developed countries can be transposed to countries where data are scarce.