Support for World Bank Syria Economic Monitor

Support for World Bank Syria Economic Monitor#


Using Alternative Data to Understand Changing Trends in Trade and Economic Activity


The Syria Economic Monitor is a semi-annual economic publication of the World Bank, which provides updates on key economic developments, outlook, risks, and policies.

The conflict in Syria has inflicted a devastating impact on the inhabitants and economy, but measuring the true extent of the damage has been challenging. With the prolonged conflict, the country’s statistical capacity has been weakened, and reliable and timely information regarding many areas of economic activity, particularly trade, is inaccessible. Further, the Bank has no formal communication with the Syrian government, making basic data access and verification unusually challenging.


The Syria Economic Monitor team requested the WB Data Lab to explore use of alternative data to better understand changing trends in trade and economic activity, focusing on: port activity, surface cross-border transport routes, changes in observed agricultural production, observed nighttime lights, and reported conflict. The team, comprised of colleagues from the Global Operations Support Team (GOST), the Development Impact Monitoring and Evaluation team (DIME), the Development Data Partnership, and the WB Data Lab, worked with the Syria Economic Monitor team to explore use of alternative open and proprietary data sources to generate new data products that can be sustainably updated. With the datasets and methods provided, over time, the Syria team should be able to create a clearer picture of the state of the Syrian economy.


Datasets and methods used to generate insights for this project have been prepared as Data Goods. Data Goods are comprised of data, reproducible methods (code), documentation, and sample insights. Unlike a traditional data analysis, which results in a single-use report or visualization, Data Goods are designed to be re-used for future updates and projects, thereby building the capacity of the World Bank and partner organizations to quickly and effectively deliver complex data science solutions to pressing global challenges.


In February 2022, the Syria Economic Monitor team received a Data Corps Strategic Brief, of which the following working methodologies are a result and waiting peer-review.

The following reports featured insights from our project’s data and analyses.


Insights and Indicators


Data Availability Statement#

Restrictions may apply to the data that support the findings of this study. Data received from the private sector through the Development Data Partnership are subject to the terms and conditions of the data license agreement and the “Official Use Only” data classification. These data are available upon request through the Development Data Partnership. Licensing and access information for all other datasets are included in the documentation.


This project is licensed under the Mozilla Public License - see the LICENSE file for details.