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World Bank launches site to make aid work more transparent

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Fri, 22 Jul 2011 18:20 GMT
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LONDON (TrustLaw) - The World Bank has unveiled a financial data website, the latest in a series of initiatives to make its aid work more transparent.

“World Bank Finances”, launched this week, allows users to find out where the bank has disbursed money, what global funds it manages and also gives insight into its balance sheet.

The open-data site allows users to “slice and dice” datasets, visualise data and share it with other users through social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. The information can also be accessed via mobile applications.

The website includes unaudited World Bank financial information, a feature the bank said is in line with its goal to "make raw data publicly available in open data format as soon as it is approved for public release through other channels".

“The new site lets people do things they’ve never been able to do before with our data, such as find in an instant where we’ve disbursed money and then visualise that information,” Chuck McDonough, the World Bank’s vice president and controller, said in a statement.

Global aid transparency campaign organisation Publish What You Fund (PWYF) welcomed the site's launch but urged the World Bank to compile its various open data iniatives through the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), an  emerging global standard for publishing more and better information about aid.

Not only would the use of this standard format make the World Bank’s data more readily usable, and therefore valuable, but it would also represent value for money if these systems focused on compatibility from the beginning, PWYF said.

The World Bank in April opened its database on global living standards, with access to development data in English, Arabic, French and Spanish.

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