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Global Data Facility: Financing data-powered development for better lives

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The inaugural Annual Report of the Global Data Facility (GDF) was released on March 1, 2024, showcasing the impact of the umbrella trust fund and providing a blueprint for its future priorities.
The inaugural Annual Report of the Global Data Facility (GDF) was released on March 1, 2024, showcasing the impact of the umbrella trust fund and providing a blueprint for its future priorities.

The commitment of the World Bank-hosted Global Data Facility (GDF) is to help finance data-powered development to enable better lives on a livable planet. With compounding global crises, this commitment has never been more important.

The GDF’s newly published inaugural Annual Report shows key progress toward the realization of this commitment. Thanks to the generous thought-leadership, support, and trust of our partners, the GDF’s impact is already being felt on issues that directly affect the most vulnerable among us. These include:

1. Enhancing debt transparency and the quality of comprehensive external debt information:

Comprehensive, accurate, and transparent public debt data is fundamental to the management of public liabilities, and the foundation of informed and sustainable borrowing decisions. Through the GDF, we have been able to enhance debt transparency, including in countries such as Mozambique and Sierra Leone, by supporting borrowers’ efforts to strengthen debt reporting and recording. This is critical at a time when nearly two-thirds of low-income nations are at an elevated risk of debt distress or already in it.

2. Collecting price data for constructing purchasing power parity through the International Comparison Program (ICP):

This work will allow policymakers, analysts, and researchers to examine in detail the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy, prices, expenditures, output, and material well-being. Enabled by the GDF, we have facilitated the 2021 ICP cycle in over 170 economies amidst the unprecedented challenges of the global pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and conflict in the Middle East, providing tailored guidance and flexible survey schedules to national statistical offices and regional agencies. The ICP 2021 cycle results, to be released in 2024, will include 2021 results, revised 2017 results, and annual PPPs for 2018 to 2020

3. Updating the System of National Accounts (SNA):

To ensure continuing relevance of the SNA for the purposes of economic analysis and policymaking, periodic updates are necessary to reflect the real changes taking place within economies, the evolution of financial and fiscal instruments, and improvements of accounting methodologies. The revision of the 2008 SNA process is now at a very advanced stage. GDF support has enabled research and consultation efforts involving multiple task teams on priority work streams with broad representation from National Statistical Offices and the research community. With our partners, we have reflected feedback from 181 countries in the update process to capture the new reality in economies and ensure nations’ diverse perspectives and experiences are considered in analysis and decision-making.

4. Building infrastructure and methods for extracting, disaggregating, and standardizing geospatial data:

Within most countries, there is typically more than one level of governance, and therefore, various policy, private capital flows, and public investment. Exploring the differences at various geographic scales can shed light on why development policy can be more effective in one region than another. This GDF-supported new initiative aims to standardize access to foundational geospatial data, at various sub-national levels, with a focus on enabling access for development practitioners, country counterparts, and academics, relying on open innovation, with open tools and code, alongside open datasets in established World Bank repositories. A part of this initiative has been laying the groundwork for using geospatial data for the real-time monitoring of food insecurity, a problem estimated to affect a quarter of a billion people.

As the above project highlights demonstrate, the GDF is supporting important progress on key issues, but our work is only getting started.

We are currently prioritizing efforts to expand and strengthen coordination of financing and technical support to meet urgent demands to modernize data and statistical systems in the poorest countries. We are seeking new and additional partner commitments to actively enable stronger international cooperation on data financing for less fragmentation, better value for money and time, and most importantly, more durable transformations of countries’ data capital and statistical systems. These efforts include key global initiatives, such as the joint “High Impact Initiative on the Power of Data” launched during the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly, during which the World Bank, UN agencies, and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data partnered to prioritize more financial and technical support for country data and data systems in low- and middle-income countries.

In a rapidly changing data-driven world, where targeted and responsible applications of artificial intelligence hold tremendous potential for achieving sustainable development, better data and the crucial insights gained from it are becoming ever more essential in addressing the many challenges we face. Through its investments in the fundamentals, as well as at the frontier of data and statistics, the GDF will continue to ensure that countries can leverage data with state-of-the-art solutions for better lives and a safer planet.

We hope you will join us in fully realizing this commitment to data-powered development.

The Global Data Facility is made possible by the commitment and generosity of our partners who share a dedication to advancing the global data agenda: the European Commission; the International Monetary Fund; Ministry of Finance of Japan; Ministry of Economy, Trade and Enterprise of the Kingdom of Spain; and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office of the Government of the United Kingdom.


Craig Hammer

Senior Program Manager, Development Data Group, World Bank

Maria Gabriela Tercero Gomez

Consultant, Development Data Group, World Bank

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