The doors to the largest depository of development data in the world were just thrown open. Starting today, all our statistics are available online free of charge for all. The Open Data Access builds on the success of Data.Gov adopted by the US and UK and lets the global community create new applications and solutions to help poor people in the developing world.
Data, until now available through subscriptions only, is now accessible at data.worldbank.org. This is an important milestone for the World Bank, which complements the Access to Information reform. For many data is power. It is more than just numbers as it creates the space for dialogue based on facts and helps to foster new ideas.
Standardized cross-country data supports the work of development practitioners as they analyze and share information in the search of solutions to development challenges, in South Asia and elsewhere. It also encourages critical thinking amongst stakeholders to find solutions to malnutrition, child mortality, trade imbalances, underperforming school systems, income distribution, and so forth.
Data.worldbank.org will also increase research opportunities for students, academics, and journalists to broaden the understanding and dialogue of global issues. I wish I would have had access to this data when I was a student!
As a knowledge organization the Bank needs to consistently look to be more open and transparent, utilizing the latest advances in technology and information sharing. The new data site at the World Bank offers over 2,000 statistical series from poverty to pollution, population growth to exchange rate indexes, paved roads to the Millennium Development Goals, which will give a clearer picture of life in developing countries over time. The site has easy search, download, and visualization options with data available just a click away at data.worldbank.org.
So, help our counterparts take advantage of the exciting possibilities that this data opens up including for the young people today studying development. This blog is to invite you to share your innovation, ideas and questions with us and the rest of the development community.