WASHINGTON, April 20, 2010 — The World Bank Group today announced that it has thrown open the doors to its statistical databases and is challenging the global community to use the data to create new applications and solutions to help poor people in the developing world.
Recognizing that transparency and accountability are essential to development, the World Bank Group is now providing free, open, and easy access to its comprehensive set of data on living standards around the globe - some 2,000 indicators, including hundreds that go back 50 years. The data will be available in Arabic, French and Spanish in addition to English.
“I believe it’s important to make the data and knowledge of the World Bank available to everyone,” said World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick. “Statistics tell the story of people in developing and emerging countries and can play an important part in helping to overcome poverty. They are now easily accessible on the Web for all users, and can be used to create new apps for development. ”
Drawing from numerous data sources and working with statistical partners, the Bank Group has worked intensively to modernize its storehouse of statistics to create data.worldbank.org, a new, user-friendly data access site.
In the coming months, the World Bank will also launch an “Apps for Development" competition, challenging the developer community to create tools, applications, and ”mash-ups” using World Bank data with the goal of producing better tools for understanding development.
The new open data initiative coincides with the launch of the World Development Indicators (WDI) 2010, the Bank’s popular statistical resource. Apart from giving open access to the WDI, with nearly 1000 indicators, the initiative also opens up the Global Development Finance, Africa Development Indicators, Global Economic Monitor, and indicators from the Doing Business Report.
Broader access to the data will allow policy makers, researchers, and civil society to track the impact of policies, develop new solutions, and measure improvements more accurately.
Users will be encouraged to provide feedback and to make use of the data through new tools and applications.
This knowledge sharing initiative will be followed by the July 2010 launch of the World Bank’s new Access to Information Policy, which will make available an expanded range of reports, documents, and information.