Where should telecom providers place their towers and what frequencies should they use?
How can governments best calculate commodity imports to ensure food security?
How can communities better manage areas at risks of floods?
These are just some of the questions that organizations around the world try to answer by using open government data — free, publicly available data that anyone can access and use, without restrictions. Yet around the world, much government data is yet to be made available, and still less in machine-readable formats. In many low and lower-middle income countries, finding and using open data is often challenging. It may take a complicated request process to get data from the government, and the data may come in the form of paper-based documents that are very hard to analyze. A new study looks to better understand how organizations in low and lower-middle income countries utilize machine-readable open data.
In producing the study, the Center for Open Data Enterprise, supported by the World Bank, interviewed dozens of businesses and nonprofit organizations in 20 countries. The organizations were identified through the Open Data Impact Map, a public database of organizations that use open data around the world, and a resource of the Open Data for Development (OD4D) Network. Over 50 use cases were developed as part of this study, each an example of open data use in a low or lower-middle income country.
Who are Spain's neighbors? Is Canada closer to Spain than Portugal? What about Estonia or Greece? The answer? Depends on the data you are looking at!
Earlier this week I crunched data based on a selected list of indicators from the new Open Trade and Competitiveness platform from the World Bank (TCdata360) and found some interesting trends. In 2009 Spain was closer to economies like Estonia, Belgium, France and Canada while 6 years later in 2015, Spain's closest neighbors were Greece and Portugal. How and when did this shift happen?
Other trends I spotted using the same data? It seems the Sub-Saharan region ranks the lowest in Ease of Doing Business, that in 2007 Israel held the record for R&D expenditure as % of GDP, while in the same year Malta topped FDI net inflows as % GDP, and that the largest annual GDP growth in the last 20 years occurred in Equatorial Guinea in 1997.
Figure 1: Dots represent values for an economy at a given point in time for years 1996 to 2016 overlaying their box-plot distributions. Colors correspond to geographical regions.
Constitutions – fundamental principles or laws governing countries – have proliferated since the late 18th century. The growing numbers, especially since the 1940s, correspond to the postcolonial increase in the number of independent states, and more recently the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Over the last 25 years, different forms of gender quotas for representation in national legislatures have spread globally. Out of 74 countries studied where gender quota laws were passed, the 2017 World Development Report finds that 26 had achieved the quotes, and as of 2016, 48 countries had yet to do so.
Energy and non-energy commodity price indexes are projected to increase by 26 and 3 percent respectively in 2017. The Agricultural Price Index is expected to remain stable. Prices for industrial commodities such as energy and metals appear to have bottomed out in 2016, and are forecast to rise substantially this year due to strong demand and tight supplies. Read more in Commodity Markets Outlook.
“Education” is at the top of the world’s development agenda, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and the focus of the upcoming 2018 World Development Report of the World Bank. The World Bank monitors views of development experts around the globe and finds consistently that “education” is perceived as key to development at different levels.
In the past five years, the World Bank’s Country Opinion Survey Program surveyed more than 25 thousand opinion leaders in the field of development in nearly all client countries across the globe. In some countries the surveys were conducted two or even three times during 2012-2016.
"What is the most important development priority for your country?" was one of the questions to representatives of national and local governments, multilateral/bilateral agencies, media, academia, the private sector, and civil society in developing countries.
At the global level, -- where 57 million children in the world still remain out of school, -- “education” has emerged amongst survey respondents as one of the top two development priorities across the regions.
Percentage and number of opinion leaders seeing “education” as a top development priority by region (123 developing countries, 2012-2016).
Low commodity prices and weak global trade continue to create challenging conditions for commodity-exporting, emerging markets and developing economies. According to the Global Economic Prospects, in 2016 commodity exporters in these economies grew more slowly than commodity importers did.
The World Bank Group just launched a new open data platform for trade and competitiveness – TCdata360. Try it today and share your visuals on Twitter with the hashtag #TCdata360.
Open data – statistics that are accessible to all at little or no cost – is a critical component of global development and the World Bank Group’s twin goals of ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity. How can we measure progress towards our objectives without a method of tracking how far we’ve come?
High quality and freely available data serves different stakeholders in different ways. For those of us working in global development, data helps us set baselines, identify what types of policies are effective, track progress and evaluate impact. For the private sector, open data helps companies operate more efficiently, identify areas where industries can improve, and pinpoint areas for new investment. Citizens benefit from open data by getting an understanding of what governments are doing to help them, and transparent data can help reinforce trust. The public sector utilizes data in many ways, including tracking progress against peers and pinpointing areas where countries might be excelling or lagging behind.
The World Bank Group offers a variety of open data sources for public use. The newest platform, TCdata360, focuses on trade and competitiveness and aggregates thousands of data points from dozens of vetted sources. This type of high quality data helps us get an unbiased, objective, and comprehensive view of how the world economy works and demonstrates how all the pieces of the global economy are integrated. Without it, there would be no evidence base on areas that we know to be critical for development, such as global value chains, foreign direct investment, or even starting new businesses.
TCdata360 has three distinct advantages over other data websites:
It’s comprehensive. TCdata360 offers 2,000 indicators aggregated from across more than 20 data sources. These sources include other well-known World Bank Group data sets such as Doing Business, the Logistics Performance Index, and the World Development Indicators, as well as data from other reputable sources, including the IMF, World Economic Forum, United Nations, and WTO. It’s a one-stop shop for all things trade and competitiveness, one that does not exist anywhere else
It’s constantly updated. Because TCdata360 pulls data from other sources as soon as they are updated, TCdata360 is updated. This eliminates the need for searching around for the most current figures on trade and competitiveness – TCdata360 will always be current.
It’s easy to use. You do not need to be a trade expert or economist to use TCdata360. There are no complicated queries to manage or spreadsheets to navigate. The site is visual and is based on easy-to-interpret charts, graphs and maps, which are all downloadable and shareable. It’s simple, interactive and visual. For advanced users, it offers features like an API (application programming interface).
The World Development Indicators database has been updated. This is a regular quarterly update to over 800 indicators and includes both new indicators and updates to existing indicators.
This release features new external debt data from the International Debt Statistics database, and revised data for national accounts, PPP series, balance of payments, FDI inflows, remittances, and monetary indicators. Updates have also been made for government finance indicators, malnutrition series, education aggregates, Enterprise Surveys, commercial banks, refugees, high-technology exports, and other trade-related indicators. IDA and IBRD group data have been adjusted to reflect Syrian Arab Republic's reclassification as an IDA only country.
IDS 2017 presents statistics and analysis on the external debt and financial flows (debt and equity) for the world’s economies for 2015. This publication provides more than 200 time series indicators from 1970 to 2015 for most reporting countries. To access the report and related products you can:
This year’s edition of International Debt Statistics been reconfigured to offer a more condensed presentation of the principal indicators, along with additional tables showcasing quarterly external debt statistics and public sector debt to respond to user demand for timely, comprehensive data on trends in external debt in low middle and high income countries.
By providing comprehensive and timely data that reflects the latest additions and revisions, and by expanding the scope of the data available online, we aim to serve the needs of our users and to reach a wider audience.