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How to get the most out of The World Bank's data base and research reports

Li Lou


Global Business Journalism reporter

Founded in 1944 to help rebuild the European economy in post-WWII era, The World Bank has evolved into the largest assistance provider to developing countries in financial policy design and infrastructure building.

However, what many might not know is its role in informing the world. The World Bank’s Open Data archives publications have statistics on poverty reduction, economic policy, education, healthcare system, among other indicators, about countries around the world.

“The knowledge pool is one of the most credible data sources which reporters can explore,” said Li Lou, external affairs officer at The World Bank in Washington, D.C.

The World Bank houses a treasure trove of data that helps reporters around the world. It is available – free of charge – on the organization's website at

“We don’t create data," Li recently told a class of Global Business Journalism students at Tsinghua University. "We collect data from national statistic bureaus and curate them in a way that put government officials, economists, journalists in the picture."

World Bank resources go far beyond its invaluable data base and include reports on a wide range of topics. If you go to its website, you’ll find a variety of information. You’ll find sources like these and more:

The annual World Development Report, for example, keeps investors and policy makers in the loop. Journalists can equip themselves with the 2022 report when covering beats concerning the post-pandemic economy. Insights is gained via rich data and in-depth analysis on how emerging economies have been affected by the crisis. Policies are also suggested to mitigate potential risks brought by shaky economies.

Other sources include, but are not limited, to Women, Business and the Law, a series of annual studies looking at women’s role in changing the economy and, Human Capital Index, which ranks countries in terms of health and education. The Index also provides other indicators that reflects a country’s strengths and weaknesses — and where it should focus.

“Equity and shared prosperity are what World Bank pursues in its effort to end extreme poverty,” said Shirin Rateshtari, who has worked at The World Bank for seven years.

“In achieving our mission, knowledge is an important part. Together with this, development projects are carried out to build physical, financial and social infrastructures in developing countries through our partnership with governments.”

Rateshtari knows the impact firsthand. She recalls being a child growing up in India “where World Bank helped to build roads. In fiscal year 2021, our funds for development projects worldwide totaled $98.8 billion.”

If journalists would like to interview a World Bank expert for their stories, Li recommended that they contact her office. She said she would be happy to try to connect reporters to sources inside The World Bank.

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