The World Region
Violence against women occurs in all regions, religions and social classes and encompasses physical, sexual, psychological and economic violence, with even larger implications for the economic, health and social progress of societies. Yet data on this topic is hard to come by.
Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and I wanted to highlight what’s being done to get better data on the subject, and in general, what’s being done to “close the gender data gap.”
Merchandise trade has become an increasingly important contributor to a country’s gross domestic product (GDP), particularly for developing countries. Before the global financial crisis hit in 2008, merchandise trade as a percent of GDP for low- and middle-income economies was 57 percent, about 5% higher than for high-income economies. This is very evident in Europe and Central Asia (ECA) where merchandise trade accounts for 73 percent of the developing region’s GDP. Many ECA countries including Hungary, Belarus, and Bulgaria have merchandise trade to GDP ratios above 100 percent (155, 136, and 114 percent respectively in 2011), meaning merchandise exports are a large contributor to their overall economy.
Data openness is receiving considerable interest globally over recent years. Several countries and organizations are engaged in global discussions in this area. The International Budget Partnership (IBP) is one of the largest forums for these discussions.
In April 2010, the World Bank made its development data available for download free of charge.(2) The Open Development Technology Alliance(3) (also known as the ICT Knowledge Platform) was created to enhance accountability and improve the delivery and quality of public services through technology-enabled citizen engagement (e.g. using mobile phones, interactive-mapping and social media). The World Bank is also one of the international financial institutions taking the lead in the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) - an initiative that promotes budget transparency, public participation, and accountability globally.(4) BOOST is another useful tool developed by the World Bank for transforming detailed government expenditure data from FMIS databases into an easy-to-understand data set (XLS) for detailed analysis through pivot tables and geo-mapping tools.
On July 1, we updated the analytical country classification, which groups economies of the world into four categories based on 2012 GNI per capita estimates: low income, lower-middle income, upper-middle income, and high income. This has prompted some questions related to the review of this classification scheme, which we announced late last year and for which we solicited and received your feedback. I thought it would be useful to post an update.
Data on Millennium Development Goals (MDG) indicator trends for developing countries and for different groups of countries are curated in the World Development Indicator (WDI) database. Each year we use these data in the Global Monitoring Report (GMR) to track progress on the MDGs. Many colleagues, as well as non-Bank staff, approach us on a weekly basis with questions regarding where their region, or country, or sector stands in regard to achieving the core MDGs. Oftentimes in the same breath, they will also ask us whether or when we expect that a particular country or region will meet a certain MDG.
With less than 1,000 days remaining to the MDG deadline, work on the Post-2015 agenda is in full swing. In response to the growing demand for additional info about GMR analytics and the underlying data, we developed a suite of open and interactive data diagnostics dashboards available at: http://data.worldbank.org/mdgs. Below is an extract which summarizes the progress status towards meeting various MDGs among countries in various regions, income and other groups. Select different indicators and highlight categories of progress status to interact with the visualization.
Where are IFC’s SME clients located? How much has IFC invested in infrastructure projects in Africa? How have IFC’s investments in different sectors changed and grown over time?
For the first time, users will be able to find the answers to these and many more questions about International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) work on the World Bank Group’s Open Finances website. Eight data sets with detailed information on IFC’s financial commitments and projects are now available for the public to slice, visualize and share in the ways that they choose.
Last week, on my way home from work, I met a young man raising funds for a charity. He stood outside of a subway station and as part of his pitch, he asked, "if you could have any superpower, what would it be?" I offered the same answer I have been giving my children for years. "I have a superpower. It's reading." I suspect this both annoys and inspires my children. Given that annoying and inspiring are among my favorite parental duties, I rather like this answer.