The World Bank, an organisation which aims to financial and technical assistance to developing countries has opened up a vast amount of its data in the hope that it can be used to further their mission.
The World Bank President, Bob Zoellick, announced the data initiative:
Today we are opening up one of the world’s most reliable and comprehensive databases on developing economies. It includes more than 2,000 indicators from countries around the world, including hundreds that go back 50 years.
The indicators include a wide range of data, such as the “Ease of Doing Business Index“, “Internet Users“, “Lending Interest Rates“, and “Unemployment“, amongst many others, and there are hundreds of factsheets on each country:
Here’s their reasoning for opening up their data:
The World Bank recognizes that transparency and accountability are essential to the development process and central to achieving the Bank’s mission to alleviate poverty. The Bank’s commitment to openness is also driven by a desire to foster public ownership, partnership and participation in development from a wide range of stakeholders. As a knowledge institution, the World Bank’s first step is to share its knowledge freely and openly. Statistics are a key part of that knowledge and are now easily accessible on the web for all users. The World Bank is providing free and open access to a comprehensive set of data about development in countries around the globe. Broader access to these data allow policymakers and advocacy groups to make better-informed decisions and measure improvements more accurately. They are also valuable tools to support research by journalists, academia and others, broadening understanding of global issues.
There’s a load of information available, and it will be interesting to see what people do with it. If you have any ideas, let us know in the comment below.
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