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World Bank Opens First Global “Apps for Development” Competition

Software Developers to Design Tools to Fight Poverty Using Open Data

WASHINGTON, October 7, 2010 – The World Bank Group today kicked off the “Apps for Development” competition, the first global contest of its kind.  President Robert B. Zoellick challenged software developers and international experts around the world to enter the contest.  Entries must be filed by January 10, 2011.

Help change the world by using the World Bank’s data collection to help find solutions to today’s development challenges.” said Zoellick. “Create applications to analyze and tackle the world’s long-standing problems.” 

The competition challenges developers to create software applications, tools, data visualizations or “mash-ups”– whether web-based, mobile, through SMS, smart phone, desktop, or tablet.  There are only two requirements for entries: use the World Bank Data Catalog and address one of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The World Bank is seeking creative ‘apps’ that bring ground level insights of the development challenges posed by the MDGs,” saidShaida Badiee, Director of World Bank Group’s Development Research Data Group. “Our collection of global data on the economy, human development and the environment is a remarkable resource. The apps created in this competition will allow policy makers, researchers, and civil society to track the impact of policies, develop new solutions, and measure improvements more accurately.”

We’d like to see examples of developers everywhere using our data and combining it with their own data to build really useful applications addressing local problems. That’s the power of crowdsourcing innovation and that’s the essence of the challenge,” added Aleem Walji, World Bank Institute Innovation Practice Manager.

Competition Requirements

Entries must be submitted no later than January 10, 2011, must relate to achieving one of the MDGs, and must include data from at least one of the datasets available in the World Bank Data Catalog.

Entries will compete for $45,000 in prizes and financial support.  Large organizations may compete for a corporate recognition award. Winning entries will be featured on the World Bank Group’s website.

The distinguished panel of judges includes Craig Newmark, Founder of Craigslist, Inc;  Kannan Pashupathy, Director, Engineering, Google; Ory Okolloh, Executive Director and Co-Founder,Ushahidi; Homi Kharas, Senior Fellow and Deputy Director, Global Economy and Development,the Brookings Institution; and Shanta Devarajan,  Chief Economist,World Bank’s Africa Region.

Get contest details and enter your app at:

The Apps for Development competition platform is powered by ChallengePost.

Open Data

The World Bank's Open Data Initiative launched April 20, 2010 and made key data sets freely available. Data sets such as the World Development Indicators (with 1000 indicators), Africa Development Indicators and Millennium Development Goal (MDG) indicators are now available in several languages.

To access the World Bank Data Catalog:

To view the competition website, please visit

View World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick video announcement:

Listen to World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick audio announcement:

World Bank Open Forum “Open Development Solutions”

October 7th, 2010 12:30 pm:

For info about the MDGs:

To learn more about The World Bank’s work, please visit