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Unleash the power of open financial data – join the Development Data Challenge!

Samuel Lee's picture

This post comes from the World Bank Finances Team

The World Bank wants a “world free of poverty.” Facebook wants a world that’s more “open and connected.” Can we help realize both these dreams with open financial data? With ever more open data on the finances and activities of development organizations and governments available (and with much of that data becoming available in standard formats like IATI), how do we go beyond transparency and get to development impact?

The World Bank Finances team, along with colleagues from Open Aid Register, Development Gateway, Open Corporates, AidInfo, Connect4Climate, and the International Center for Journalists want to explore these questions and more through the Development Data Challenge (DDC) on Friday, June 1st, 2012 from 2-7 PM at the World Bank HQ in Washington DC. RSVP here: and follow #DDC2012 on Twitter.

Join us for an afternoon of ideation, inspiration, and learning as we work together to come up with ideas and solutions to make the world a better place.

The DDC aims to answer the question:

How can open financial data be utilized for positive development impact?

To help narrow our efforts in exploring this challenge (while leaving plenty of room for flexibility) we’ve selected a number of topics for group ideation:

  • Aid Effectiveness
  • Assurance & Anti-Corruption
  • Citizen Engagement/Community
  • Connectivity/Big Data
  • Procurement/Contracts
  • Mobile & Web Applications
  • Data Journalism
  • Design/Data Visualization

You’ll be free to join any of the topic tables (or switch in between), but each topic table will be asked to come up with a collective idea that will be evaluated on its creativity/innovation, potential impact, collaboration, feasibility and implementation plan. Selected ideas will be presented to a Random Hacks of Kindness hackathon taking place the next day on Saturday June 2-3.

Your input and feedback are most welcome. Let us know if there are other topics we should explore and feel free to suggest financial development datasets as well.

So on June 1, come with questions, come with answers, and plan to leave enriched, inspired, and possibly equipped with some good ideas for further development.

Register for the World Bank Development Data Challenge

Feel free to take a look at some World Bank financial data in advance of the DDC via the visualization embed below.



Submitted by Anonymous on
Thanks for sharing this Sam - as a potential topic, it would be interesting to explore what needs to be done to make aid more traceable once it's spent by recipients. We have high-level open data, much of it in IATI format on how much money goes to a particular country or project, but how exactly is it spent? Which companies, organizations and individuals provide the goods and services that this money buys? Is anybody making progress in this area now that we've got donors rolling on relatively big-picture transparency?

Submitted by Sam Lee on
Thanks for your comment! Definitely agree that it is important to explore the traceability of aid beyond what donors commit and disburse to recipient countries. You raise a number of key points and ideas that we are definitely interested in pursuing. There are two topic tables at the Development Data Challenge that I think your ideas can be further explored- Aid Effectiveness and Procurement/Contracts. So I hope you'll share your thoughts and join us on June 1! As an initial step in moving beyond commitment and disbursement data, the World Bank Finances team in partnership with the government of Moldova recently published categorical expenditure data. (Check out a visualization & the data here:

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