This article highlights the importance of developing more Arab databases produced by Arab authorities and data centres in Arab countries. Moreover, there is a need for more domain specific databases that can help in promoting and accelerating investment, trade, and project finance in the Arab world.
Data about Arab countries is usually accessible from world databases such as World Bank Open Data, United Nation UN data portals, World Health Organization (WHO) database, Worldometer, World Economic Outlook, and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) World Factbook.
This article overviews world databases and domain specific data bases such as databases for investors and investment projects. A brief overview of databases developed in the Arab world is presented with particular focus on data available from Union of Arab Banks E-Services platform.
The article concludes with the importance of supporting initiatives to develop domain specific databases to fill the gap in the availability of Arab world data and help enterprises of various sizes, particularly small and medium size enterprises (SMEs), to easily find data about future innovation projects and finance opportunity and facilitating the matching between them.
The Importance Of World Databases
World databases serve the important purpose of collecting, organizing, and providing access to vast amounts of information about various aspects of the world. These databases are typically created and maintained by organizations, governments, or companies with the aim of facilitating research, analysis, decision-making, and information dissemination. The content of world databases can vary widely depending on their specific focus, but some common types of data include:
- Demographic Data: Information about populations, such as population size, age distribution, ethnicity, education levels, and socioeconomic indicators.
- Geographic Data: Spatial information, including maps, coordinates, boundaries, and features of different locations, such as countries, cities, rivers, mountains, and landmarks.
- Economic Data: Data related to the global economy, including indicators like gross domestic product (GDP), inflation rates, employment statistics, trade flows, and market trends.
- Environmental Data: Information about the environment, such as climate patterns, weather data, air and water quality, biodiversity, natural resources, and ecological trends.
- Health Data: Data related to public health, including disease prevalence, vaccination rates, mortality rates, healthcare infrastructure, and epidemiological studies.
- Scientific Data: Research findings, experimental results, observations, and measurements in various scientific fields, such as astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, and earth sciences.
- Cultural Data: Information about cultural heritage, traditions, languages, art, literature, music, and historical events.
- Legal and Regulatory Data: Databases containing laws, regulations, treaties, court cases, intellectual property rights, and legal frameworks in different jurisdictions.
- Social Data: Information about social trends, behaviour patterns, social media analytics, public opinion polls, and surveys.
- Educational Data: Databases containing educational resources, learning materials, academic research, and statistics on educational institutions, and achievements.
These databases serve as valuable resources for researchers, policymakers, businesses, educators, journalists, and the general public, enabling them to access and analyze information to gain insights, make informed decisions, and deepen their understanding of various aspects of the world.
Where Is The Global Data?
Global data is available from the following organization:
- World Bank: The World Bank provides an extensive collection of open data covering a wide range of topics, including demographics, economics, education, health, environment, and more. It offers access to a vast amount of information and indicators from countries around the world.
- United Nations (UN): The United Nations maintains various databases that offer insights into global development, social issues, and other topics. The UN Data portal provides access to datasets from different UN agencies, covering areas such as population, education, health, employment, energy, and more.
- World Health Organization (WHO): The WHO gathers data on global health issues and maintains a comprehensive database with information on diseases, health indicators, health systems, and other related topics. It provides statistics, reports, and resources for researchers, policymakers, and the public.
- Central Intelligence Agency (CIA): The CIA is a United States (US) government agency that provides objective intelligence on foreign countries and global issues to the president, the National Security Council, and other policymakers to help them make national security decisions. To meet the intelligence needs the CIA:
- Lead specialized, multidisciplinary Mission Centers to address high-priority issues including nonproliferation, counterterrorism, counterintelligence, organized crime, narcotics trafficking, and arms control, to name a few;
- Build strong partnerships between intelligence collection disciplines;
- Produce all-source analysis on a range of topics and participate in Intelligence Community-wide efforts; and
- Contribute to the greater Intelligence Community by managing services of common concern, like imagery analysis and open-source collection, while partnering on technical research and development.
Below is an overview of data available from these world organizations.
World Bank Open Data
The World Bank Open Data is an initiative by the World Bank that provides free and open access to a comprehensive collection of development indicators and datasets. It offers a vast array of data on various aspects of global development, including but not limited to:
- Macroeconomic data: GDP (Gross Domestic Product), inflation rates, trade statistics, fiscal indicators, exchange rates, etc.
- Social indicators: Population, poverty rates, education statistics, health indicators, gender equality measures, labor market data, etc.
- Infrastructure data: Energy consumption, access to electricity, transportation infrastructure, telecommunications, water and sanitation facilities, etc.
- Financial data: Banking statistics, access to finance, remittances, external debt, financial inclusion measures, etc.
- Climate and environment data: Carbon emissions, renewable energy production, natural resource management, environmental indicators, climate change adaptation, etc.
- Governance indicators: Rule of law, government effectiveness, corruption measures, political stability, regulatory frameworks, etc.
- Development projects: Information on World Bank-funded projects, their objectives, implementation progress, and outcomes.
These datasets are available in various formats, including Excel, comma-separated values (CSV), and Application Programming Interface (API) access, allowing researchers, policymakers, and the general public to analyze, visualize, and utilize the data for research, policy-making, and development planning.
United Nations Data Portals
The United Nations (UN) has several data portals that provide access to various datasets and information. These portals serve as central repositories for data collected and compiled by different UN agencies, programs, and initiatives. UN data portals include:
- UNdata (data.un.org): UNdata is a comprehensive data portal that brings together datasets from different UN agencies. It offers a wide range of statistical databases covering topics such as population, education, health, labor, environment, and more. Users can search, browse, and download data in various formats, visualize data through charts and maps, and create custom data queries.
- Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Indicators (unstats.un.org/sdgs): This portal focuses on the indicators related to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by UN member states. It provides access to global, regional, and national indicators tracking progress towards achieving the SDGs. Users can explore data, view indicator metadata, and generate visualizations and reports.
- UN Comtrade (comtrade.un.org): UN Comtrade is the United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database. It offers detailed and up-to-date international trade data, including imports and exports of goods and services. Users can search for specific commodities, countries, or time periods and access trade data in various formats.
- UNICEF Data (data.unicef.org): UNICEF Data provides access to data related to children’s well-being. It covers areas such as child health, education, nutrition, water and sanitation, child protection, and more. The portal offers a range of data visualization tools, reports, and country profiles.
There are additional portals specific to certain UN agencies or initiatives. Each portal may have its own unique features, datasets, and functionalities, but they all aim to provide valuable data and information for research, policy-making, and decision-making purposes.
Worldometer Online Data
Worldometer (www.worldometers.info) is a popular online reference website that provides real-time statistics and data on various topics, including world population, health, economics, society, and the environment. The data on Worldometer is gathered from reputable sources such as government agencies, international organizations, and research institutions. While the specific datasets may vary over time, here are some common categories of data found on Worldometer:
- World Population: Current global population estimates, including the total population, births, deaths, and population growth rates.
- Health: Data related to public health, such as the number of reported COVID-19 cases, deaths, recoveries, and active cases in different countries or regions. It may also include data on other diseases, such as influenza, HIV/AIDS, and cancer.
- Environment: Information on environmental factors, such as CO2 emissions, energy consumption, deforestation rates, and water usage.
- Economy: Economic indicators, including GDP (Gross Domestic Product), inflation rates, unemployment rates, and national debt of various countries.
- Society: Data related to social aspects, such as literacy rates, education expenditure, poverty rates, crime rates, and human rights issues.
- Technology: Information on internet usage, the number of mobile phone users, and technological advancements.
- Education: Data on education systems, including literacy rates, school enrollment rates, and educational attainment.
World Economic Outlook Database
The World Economic Outlook (WEO) database is a comprehensive source of economic data and analysis published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It provides detailed information on various macroeconomic indicators, such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, inflation, fiscal balances, current account balances, and other relevant economic variables for countries around the world.
The WEO database is a valuable resource for policymakers, researchers, economists, and analysts who want to understand and analyze global economic trends and prospects. It covers a wide range of countries, including advanced economies, emerging markets, and developing economies. The data is typically presented in tables, charts, and graphs, allowing users to easily compare and analyze economic performance across countries and over time.
The IMF publishes the World Economic Outlook report biannually, in April and October, which presents the organization’s assessments and forecasts of global economic developments. The WEO database serves as a supporting tool for the analysis and projections provided in the report. It is continually updated with the latest available data and is freely accessible on the IMF’s website.
The World Economic Outlook database is a comprehensive and reliable source of economic data and analysis that plays a crucial role in understanding the global economy and informing economic policymaking and decision-making processes.
CIA World Factbook
The CIA World Factbook is a comprehensive resource published by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States. It provides information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for various countries and territories around the world.
The information in the CIA World Factbook is gathered from a variety of sources, including government publications, international organizations, and research institutions. It is regularly updated to reflect the most current data available.
Some of the key information in the CIA World Factbook for each country includes:
- Introduction: Overview of the country’s geography, people, and government.
- Geography: Information on the country’s location, climate, terrain, natural resources, and environmental issues.
- People and Society: Demographic information, including population, ethnic groups, religions, languages, education, health, and social indicators.
- Government: Details on the country’s political system, leaders, elections, and administrative divisions.
- Economy: Information on the country’s GDP, industries, agriculture, labor force, inflation, trade, and economic indicators.
- Energy: Details on the country’s energy production, consumption, and resources.
- Communications: Information on the country’s telecommunication systems, internet usage, and media.
- Transportation: Details on the country’s roadways, railways, waterways, ports, and airports.
- Military and Security: Information on the country’s military branches, defense expenditures, and security issues.
- Transnational Issues: Details on international disputes, illicit drug production, terrorism, and other cross-border issues.
The CIA World Factbook is publicly available and can be accessed online through the CIA’s website (www.cia.gov) or other authorized sources.
Databases For Investors
There are several databases that can be helpful for investors to gather information and make informed investment decisions. Commonly used databases are:
- Bloomberg Terminal: Bloomberg is a widely used financial information platform that provides real-time and historical market data, news, analytics, and trading tools. It covers a wide range of asset classes and is popular among professional investors.
- Morningstar: Morningstar offers a comprehensive database of investment research, including mutual funds, stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and other investment vehicles. It provides data on performance, portfolio holdings, risk measures, and analyst ratings.
- FactSet: FactSet is a financial data and analytics platform that offers a wide range of data on global equities, fixed income, commodities, currencies, and more. It includes company financials, analyst estimates, market data, and research reports.
- Thomson Reuters Eikon: Eikon is a financial analysis and trading software that provides real-time market data, news, and analytics. It covers a broad range of asset classes, including stocks, bonds, commodities, and derivatives.
- Standard & Poor’s S&P Capital Intelligence Quotient (IQ): S&P Capital IQ is a research platform that offers extensive financial and market data, including company fundamentals, historical financials, industry analysis, and credit ratings. It is widely used for equity research and financial modeling.
- PitchBook: PitchBook is a database focused on private equity, venture capital, and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activities. It provides information on private companies, investors, deals, and trends in the private market.
- SEC EDGAR: The United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval (EDGAR) system provides access to corporate filings, including annual reports, financial statements, and other disclosures required by public companies.
- Refinitiv Eikon: Eikon, formerly known as Thomson Reuters Eikon, offers a wide range of financial data, news, and analytics. It includes global market data, company information, economic indicators, and more.
- Zacks Investment Research: Zacks provides investment research, stock analysis, and recommendations. It offers earnings estimates, analyst ratings, and other fundamental data to help investors make investment decisions.
- WRDS (Wharton Research Data Services): WRDS is a research platform that provides access to a wide range of financial, economic, and marketing data. It includes data from sources like CRSP (Center for Research in Security Prices), Compustat, and IBES (Institutional Brokers’ Estimate System), which can be useful for academic and quantitative research.
These databases provide valuable information to investors, but it is important to note that access to some of them may require subscriptions or institutional access.
Databases On Investment Projects
There are several databases and platforms that provide information about investment projects around the world. Some notable ones are:
- World Bank’s Private Participation in Infrastructure (PPI) Database: The World Bank’s PPI Database provides information on private investment in infrastructure projects in developing countries. It covers various sectors such as energy, transportation, water and sanitation, and telecommunications.
- United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Investment Information Network (IIN): UNCTAD’s IIN is a global database that provides information on investment projects and policies from around the world. It includes data on investment projects, investment incentives, and regulatory frameworks.
- fDi Markets: fDi Markets, a service of the Financial Times, offers a comprehensive database of cross-border greenfield investment projects worldwide. It provides information on projects, investors, and locations, along with analysis and market intelligence.
- Crunchbase: Crunchbase is a platform that primarily focuses on startups and investment projects. It provides information on funding rounds, investors, and company profiles, making it useful for tracking investment activity in the startup ecosystem.
Access to some of these databases may require a subscription or institutional access.
Arab World Databases
While there is no single centralized database that encompasses the entire Arab world, there are several institutions, organizations, and initiatives that provide databases and resources specific to Arab countries. These include:
- Arab League: The Arab League is an organization of Arab states that promotes cooperation among its members. They maintain various databases related to demographics, economics, and social issues within the Arab world available at www.arableagueonline.org.
- Arab Development Portal: The Arab Development Portal is an initiative that provides data and information on development issues in the Arab region. It offers access to databases on topics like education, health, economy, and governance. It is accessible at https://www.arabdevelopmentportal.com/ .
- Arab Data Journalists’ Network: This network brings together data journalists and data enthusiasts from the Arab world. They provide resources, tools, and access to datasets for journalists and researchers interested in data-driven reporting. Their website is: https://www.arabdatajournalists.net/
- National Statistical Offices: Each Arab country typically has its own National Statistical Office that collects and maintains official statistics. These offices provide data on various aspects of the country, such as population, economy, and social indicators.
- Academic and Research Institutions: Universities, research centers, and think tanks in the Arab world often maintain databases related to their specific areas of focus. These databases may cover topics such as culture, history, language, and more. Examples include the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) and the Center for Arab Genomic Studies (CAGS).
Arab Economic Database
The Arab Economic Database (AED) is an initiative of the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF), a regional financial institution based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The AED serves as a comprehensive and reliable source of economic and financial data for the Arab countries.
The Arab Monetary Fund established the AED to enhance economic analysis and research in the Arab world. It collects, compiles, and disseminates economic, financial, and social data from the member countries of the AMF. The AED covers a wide range of economic indicators, including national accounts, prices, trade, balance of payments, monetary aggregates, government finance, and other related statistics.
The primary objective of the Arab Economic Database is to support policymakers, researchers, academics, and analysts by providing them with accurate and up-to-date data on the Arab economies. The data can be used for economic research, policy analysis, and decision-making processes. It also promotes transparency and facilitates economic integration among Arab countries by offering a common platform for data sharing and comparison.
The AED is accessible online through the Arab Monetary Fund’s official website. Users can access the database and retrieve data for specific countries, indicators, and time periods. The AMF continually updates and expands the AED to ensure its relevance and usefulness for the economic community in the Arab region.
Union Of Arab Banks Financial Portal
The Union of Arab Banks (UAB) is pan organization that represents and promotes the interests of Arab banks and financial institutions. UAB offers various E-services to its member banks, these include:
- Union of Arab Banks Financial Platform accessible at https://uabehub.org/home
- Union of Arab Banks E-Services. These include:
- Islamic Banking Glossary
- Banking Glossary
- FACTA (The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) Database and Glossary of terms
- BASEL Database and Glossary of terms
- Union of Arab Banks E-library.
- Arab Banking Legislation Database
This article overviewed major global databases and highlights a gap in the availability of data from the Arab world and to the Arab world. Hence, government authorities and agencies in the Arab world should invest in establishing data centres and develop quantitative and qualitative databases to support investment, help small and medium size enterprises in access to project finance, mobilise inter-Arab trade, enhance education and lead to greater integration and cooperation between Arab countries.