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Five years of investments in open data

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This year marks the fifth anniversary of the World Bank’s efforts to help countries launch their own open data initiatives, and harness the power of open data to benefit their citizens. A new report provides insights into how open data is benefitting countries, what strategies are working well, what could be improved.

The report provides the most comprehensive snapshot of Bank-funded open data activities to date. In the last five years, the Bank has provided technical assistance and funding for open data activities in over 50 countries, conservatively estimated at more than $50 million from a variety of sources. In many cases Bank funding has leveraged support from other partners or co-sponsorship by countries and other institutions. Within the Bank, the Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building (TFSCB) has been the most significant source of funding for open data. The TFSCB has financed over 20 projects in 16 countries, as well as 6 grants for regional and global activities.

Supporting over 45 countries with national and sector-specific open data

Support for open data has taken a variety of forms. To date, 45 Open Data Readiness Assessments (ODRAs) have been completed at national and sub-national levels, which have helped raise awareness and catalyze public and private efforts to advance open data within countries. There are now sector-specific ODRA tools for business, energy, and transport. The Bank has invested in a range of open data learning and knowledge products, including data literacy courses and the Open Data Toolkit, and collaborated with its global partners to support academic research, a series of regional conferences, and open data implementation. The report also found that these initial efforts have catalyzed longer-term project investments, i.e., IBRD loans and IDA credits, with open data implementation components in at least 14 countries.

Facebook, the OECD & the World Bank have a new way to survey businesses

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Countries in which firms were surveyed for initial round of “Future of Business Survey”

Facebook, the OECD and World Bank have just released the “Future of Business Survey” - a new source of information on small and medium enterprises. You can download the report and explore the results here.

The shared goal of this work is to help policymakers, researchers, and businesses to better understand business sentiment, and to leverage a digital platform to provide a unique source of information.

What do you think of the all-new

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Check out the new World Bank Data site at  - we'd love your feedback.

The new

The Bank has been providing free, open access to its development data since the launch of the Open Data Initiative in 2010. Initially, we focused on the popular World Development Indicators data set, but we’ve added lots of datasets since then. But, apart from some changes to make some of the new datasets accessible, the website itself has stayed pretty much the same. That is, until this week!

Two views on the Data Revolution

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More than 450 representatives from the government, academia, the private sector, and international organizations were in attendance.

Last month I had the opportunity to attend the Africa Open Data Conference in Dar es Salaam. Over 450 participants from 39 countries (including 24 African countries) attended the conference, whose sponsors included the Government of Tanzania, Code for Africa, the Open Data for Development Network, USAID, Twaweza, the World Bank and many other sponsors and partners. There is a summary of conference activity posted on Storify if you’re interested in checking it out.
The most significant takeaway for me was the combination of high-level engagement and participation of African governments alongside a community of talented and highly engaged local citizens. The opening keynote speech was delivered by the President of Tanzania himself, Dr Jakaya Kikwete, whose presence was announced by the presidential brass band. After his opening speech, the President spent nearly an hour meeting and talking with several of the local groups who were present in the exhibit area. Other African governments were well represented in the ensuing sessions.

Energy, Emissions and Elevation: 6 Quick Climate Facts

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Today, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a major report that raises the panel’s certainty that human activity, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, is the cause of much of the warming seen in recent years. The World Bank recently updated its data on estimate carbon dioxide emissions along with many other climate relevant indicators in the World Development Indicators. Here are some interesting takeaways from the data:

The World's CO2 emissions grew 4.9% in 2010

That's the 3rd largest annual increase since 1990 (early estimates of 2011 and 2012 emissions show further global increases since 2010, but not quite as large). Nationally, China, the United States, India, Russia and Japan continue to be the top 5 emitters. It's also notable that in 2010 South Korea surpassed Canada in 8th place, and South Africa fell out of the top 10 with an emissions drop of almost 3 percent.

Relaunching the Open Data Catalog

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Last week, the World Bank launched a much-improved version of its Open Data Catalog. We first discussed our plans for the new catalog in a blog post a few months ago, as the next step in the open data principles that we outlined last year.

What's new in the data catalog? Some of the changes are obvious. For starters, the catalog is more user-friendly. All the essential information is available in a one-page list, which you can sort by name, popularity, or date. You can access bulk downloads, APIs or query tools from the same page with a single click. And you can see all the available metadata without having to visit separate pages on various sites.

Integrating the Bank's Open Data

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One of our goals in the next year is to make World Bank open data easier to find and use. As a start, we recently redesigned the country pages on to showcase other open data resources, such as Projects, Finances, Mapping For Results, Microdata, and the Climate Change Knowledge Portal. From any country page, you can now preview the data and navigate to the corresponding country page on any of these other sites.

Announcing the Apps For Climate Finalists

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Congratulations to all the developers who submitted entries to the Apps For Climate competition! Judging has now completed, the votes have been tallied, and after much suspense we can announce the finalists. All of the organizers, sponsors and judges were very impressed with the originality and quality of all of the apps that were submitted.

Final prizes—1st through 3rd place, honorable mentions, plus the Popular Choice and Large Organization awards—will be announced at the Apps For Climate awards ceremony on June 28th in Washington DC.