New Partnership Seeks to Bring Benefits of Open Data to Developing Countries

September 18, 2013

GENEVA, September 18, 2013 - The World Bank has joined forces with the Open Data Institute and the Open Knowledge Foundation in a 3-year project designed to help policy makers and citizens in developing countries understand and exploit the benefits of open data.


The project, launched today at the Open Knowledge Conference in Geneva, has three objectives: supporting developing countries to plan, execute and run open data initiatives; increasing the use of open data in developing countries; and growing the evidence-base on the impact of open data for development.


Amparo Ballivian, Lead Economist at the World Bank said, “Open data has already brought extraordinary benefits to people in rich countries, helping them to understand and improve the world around them. This project will take the benefits of open data to the developing world. It will explore and extend the frontiers of open data and harness its benefits for poverty reduction.”


The project will include scoping the state of open data; assessing the readiness of countries to open up – and use – their data; training government officials, other policy makers, and civil society; undertaking research and producing guidelines on the best use of open data; and producing case studies of impact. At this stage all developing countries have an equal chance of participating. 


Gavin Starks, CEO of the ODI said, “Open data drives economic growth and spurs innovation, unlocking previously unforeseen benefits for everyday citizens and for society as a whole. This project will enable more countries and citizens to discover solutions to their most pressing challenges. Our partnership with the World Bank and the Open Knowledge Foundation opens up almost limitless possibilities: to share, collaborate and generate value from open data at a global scale. Plus, it aligns entirely with the ODI’s aim to expand into new countries and sectors.”


With an initial budget of $1.25m in year one, the three founding organisations are looking for other partners to join them on the project. Interested parties should contact the ODI or Open Knowledge Foundation to find out more.


Laura James, CEO of the Open Knowledge Foundation said, “Making government, scientific and other data accessible and usable drives positive change across the spectrum: from health to transport, education to entrepreneurship, culture to community. This project will give citizens in developing countries the knowledge they need to campaign for change, and empower them to their hold their governments to account.” 


About the ODI: Founded by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt, and opened in December 2012, the ODI is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, limited by guarantee company. The ODI has secured £10 million over five years from the UK Government (via the UK innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board), and $750,000 from Omidyar Network, and is working towards long-term sustainability through match funding and direct revenue.


About the Open Knowledge Foundation: The Open Knowledge Foundation is an international non-profit organisation founded in 2004 to open up the world’s data and empower citizens and organisations to use it to create fair and sustainable societies. The Foundation is a globally-recognised pioneer in the area of open data and has built communities and tools around the world, including the CKAN open data platform which has been used to release hundreds of thousands of datasets from governments including UK, US, and Brazil. See


About the Open Knowledge Conference: OKCon is the world’s leading open data and open knowledge conference, running since 2005. It is organised by the Open Knowledge Foundation. This year’s OKCon is taking place in Geneva from September 16-18. The theme is Open Data – Broad, Deep, Connected, and speakers include Ellen Miller (Sunlight Foundation), John Ellis (CERN and Kings College, London), Edward Anderson (World Bank), Jay Naidoo (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition), and Victoria Stodden (Columbia University). See


About the World Bank: As a development institution, The World Bank is helping to bring the benefits of Open Data to the challenges of reducing poverty and promoting shared prosperity in the world. Having adopted the Open Data policy itself in April 2010 by providing free and open access to a comprehensive set of data, and recognizing that transparency and accountability are essential to the development process, the World Bank is working with partners to support governments in opening their data to their citizens and businesses. We believe having broader access to data will allow policy makers, researchers and citizens to track the impact of policies, develop new solutions to public service delivery, and create new sources of growth and employment. See

Media Contacts
For World Bank
Amparo Ballivian
Tel : +1 (202) 458 4962
For Open Knowledge Foundation
James Hamilton
Tel : +44 (0)1223 422159
For Open Data Institute
Emma Thwaites
Tel : 07990 804805