The World Region
The World Bank has been collecting statistics on the debt of its borrowing countries since 1951, through the Debtor Reporting System. Published for many years as World Debt Tables (see, for example, the 1982 edition here) and then as Global Development Finance (initially as Volume 2), the 2013 dataset - which contains data for 2011 - was published in a renamed publication as International Debt Statistics, with expanded coverage of Quarterly External Debt Statistics and Public Sector Debt.
Last year we reviewed our dissemination strategy for World Development Indicators (WDI), and made some improvements to improve the quality and accessibility of the statistical indicators, tables and analyses. This year we’ve looked at debt statistics, and are planning some changes here as well; while the 2014 dataset - which contains data for 2012 - has been released in mid-December as usual, we’ll be releasing the redesigned data products in mid-February.
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.