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World Bank Announces Million Dollar Open Data Initiative

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, September 20 2013

Open data gets a boost (redagainPatti/Flickr)

The use of open data for development just got a massive leg up this week, when the World Bank announced a three year open data initiative at the Open Knowledge Conference in Geneva. The Open Data Institute and the Open Knowledge Foundation join the World Bank as partners in the initiative, which has a $1.25 million dollar budget for the first year.

The purpose of the project is to help developing countries start open data initiatives, to increase the overall use of open data in developing countries, and to show the impact of open data on development.

“Open data has already brought extraordinary benefits to people in rich countries, helping them to understand and improve the world around them. This project will take the benefits of open data to the developing world. It will explore and extend the frontiers of open data and harness its benefits for poverty reduction,” explained Amparo Ballivian, lead economist at the World Bank.

According the the World Bank, countries will be assessed on their readiness to open up and use their data and, at “this stage all developing countries have an equal chance of participating.”

The World Bank started their own Open Data Initiative more than three years ago, on April 20, 2010. A good portion of that data is also available in their mobile app. Since hiring Chris Vein as their Chief Innovation Officer last December, the World Bank has cultivated more of a tech-savvy image. Now it seems like they are ready and eager to bring the rest of the world up to speed.

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network and the UN Foundation for their generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.