It was seven months ago that I left a career job in the heart of the Silicon Valley on a promise that perhaps it was time to do our little part at the World Bank to engage the Software Technology community in the conversation on Development.
As the World Bank’s President announced the Global Apps for Development Challenge today, I reflect back at the short time spent at the Bank and am humbled by the opportunity that this presents. To the casual observer this announcement may seem insignificant but it’s a monumental first step – with all its shareholders in town for the Annual meetings, President Zoelick reaffirmed the World Bank’s commitment to engage the Technology community as equal partners in Development using our Open Data and the MDGs as a platform.
The Open Data Initiative stems from a very progressive Access to Information policy adopted by the World Bank’s Board on July 1, 2010. It’s first act was to democratize it’s crown jewel, the World Development Indicators. The WDI Data Set provides the most current and accurate global development data available with more than 2,000 financial, business, health, economic and human development indicators including national, regional and global estimates for over 180 Countries over a span of 60 years.
In addition to this, today through its ‘Mapping for Results’ initiative, with the help of some very bright young graduate researchers & AidData, the World Bank announced that it has opened up it’s Project level information through its API that allows anyone to download Data on where the Bank works, how much it spends and in what sectors at the click of a single button.
While we are very proud of what we have accomplished in the last year, through such initiatives we recognize that the conversation on Development is bigger than us and needs to happen in many quarters to really make an impact – With our Apps for DevelopmentCompetition as well as our Mapping for Results initiative we hope to begin a conversation and challenge a new breed of socially conscious Technologists to make an impact in the very communities they live in.
The conversation on changing the World needs every Technologist, every Economist, every Policy Maker and most importantly every Citizen to make an active commitment to Development.
It’s a good day to be a Technologist at the World Bank. It’s a great day to be a Technologist in Development.