The World Bank has increased access to its data by launching the World Bank Finances website; the newest addition to the Bank’s open data site. This is a welcome and very encouraging development in the wake of the World Bank’s first publication to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) in May. The website includes detailed financial data summaries on commitments and disbursements, broken down by project:
“The World Bank recognizes that transparency and accountability are essential to the development process and central to achieving the Bank’s mission to alleviate poverty. The Bank’s commitment to openness is also driven by a desire to foster public ownership, partnership and participation in development from a wide range of stakeholders. As a knowledge institution, the World Bank’s first step is to share its knowledge freely and openly.” (About World Bank Finances)
The new web portal is an important and major step and builds on a number of recent initiatives at the World Bank that focus on achieving greater aid transparency. Publish What You Fund suggests that these initiatives would achieve even greater effect if they were combined through IATI, the emerging global standard. 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.