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10 Top Business Information Sources for the Global Economy

Updated on October 16, 2012


In the age of globalization, more corporations and business organizations are outsourcing or expanding operations to other countries around the world. Perhaps, if you are reading this article then your organization is also considering taking the plunge to branch out and set up shop in another part of the world. Of course, before you make this very important and costly business decision, you will want the best country-specific intelligence and data on those regions of the world under consideration. This article highlights five international business intelligence and data organizations that specialize in providing the kind of information you need to make a wise choice. In all, seven business intelligence and data services are highlighted here which are available to help you in country-specific research. Those services include such organizations as:

·         Country Watch

·         Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

·         Europa World Plus

·         World Bank

·         U.S. State Department

·         United Nations Human Development Country Information

·         MarketLine



CountryWatch is an information provider for corporations, government agencies, universities, schools, libraries and individuals needing up-to-date news and information on each of the recognized countries of the world. It provides critical country-specific intelligence and data to over 4000 clients including public and private sector organizations with overseas operations and global interests. In addition, CountryWatch provides country information to large media audiences in various venues as part of its media strategy.

The leadership team of CountryWatch has widespread international business experience and the members of the editorial department have strong academic backgrounds. Using this combination of business and academic expertise, its team has created an entire suite of products covering demographic, political, economic, business, cultural and environmental subject matter.

Key publications produced by CountryWatch include the CountryReviews, an up-to-date series of publications for each country including demographic, political, economic, business, cultural and environmental information, and the CountryWire, which provides daily news coverage for every country in the world and a significant news archive made up of the compendium of regional news carriers.

Economist Intelligence Unit

The Economist Intelligence Unit is the world's foremost provider of country, industry and management analysis. For over 60 years, the Economist Intelligence Unit has delivered vital business intelligence to influential decision-makers around the world.

·         Founded in 1946 when a director of intelligence was appointed to serve The Economist, the Economist Intelligence Unit is currently a leading research and advisory firm with more than 40 offices worldwide. Their widespread international reach and unhindered independence make them one of the most trusted and valuable resources for international companies, financial institutions, universities and government agencies.

·         Their mission is to provide business and organizational leaders with authoritative analyses and forecasts to make informed global decisions in this age of globalization. EIU offers three kinds of business intelligence:

·         Country analysis on more than 200 markets Industry trends in six key sectors Latest management strategies and best practices

·         The Economist Intelligence Unit has recently merged with Economist Conferences to deliver 360-degree decision support for your international business. They refer to it as 360-degree decision support because they can help you at any stage of your decision-making process: whether you are gathering facts, developing plans, networking with executives or benchmarking strategies. Moreover, they can now provide you with business intelligence in your preferred format: through electronic services, custom research, executive meetings or personalised presentations.

Europa World Plus

Europa World Plus brings the renowned Europa World Year Book and the nine Europa Regional Surveys of the World to the Web as a dynamic online database. All 10 product components are now available in this expanded version of Europa World online. Subscriptions are available to all or any combination of these products. Europa World Plus is the name for any subscription that includes one or more Europa Regional Surveys of the World.

·         As set forth on their website, Europa World Plus is an intelligence and data services portal that offers information on organizations and countries in all the various regions of the world. This Web version of their annual Europa World Year Book attempts to deliver fast, impartial economic, political and geographic background information and statistical data by country, and includes thousands of directory contact details with click-through web links and a comprehensive listing of some 1,900 international organizations.

·         The Europa Regional Surveys of the World have long been relied upon by government agencies, academic and public libraries, businesses and the media. Now online, these acclaimed annuals can be accessed in conjunction with Europa World, providing users with in-depth, expert analysis at regional, sub-regional and country level.

The World Bank

The World Bank, established in 1944, is headquartered in Washington, D.C. They have more than 10,000 employees in more than 100 offices worldwide. Furthermore, it is a rich source of country intelligence and data for business organizations thinking about outsourcing or expanding their operations in another region around the world.

·         The World Bank is an important source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. Their mission is to fight poverty with passion and professionalism for lasting results and to help people help themselves and their environment by providing resources, sharing knowledge, building capacity and forging partnerships in the public and private sectors.

·         The World Bank is not a bank as one might normally think of one, but is made up of two unique development institutions owned by 187 member countries: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA).

·         Each institution plays a different but collaborative role in carrying out the vision of inclusive and sustainable globalization. The IBRD aims to reduce poverty in middle-income and creditworthy poorer countries, while IDA focuses on the world's poorest countries.

·         Together, they provide low-interest loans, interest-free credits and grants to developing countries for a wide array of purposes that include investments in education, health, public administration, infrastructure, financial and private sector development, agriculture and environmental and natural resource management.

United Nations Human Development Program

As the name suggests, the United Nations Human Development Program is a branch of the United Nations dedicated to economic development of countries around the world. As an organization that dedicates its activity to human development, the UNDP does extensive research on all the countries of the world and makes the resulting information available through their Human Development Reports. These reports are available to all who are wanting to know about different countries of the world including to those seeking business intelligence data to aide in the decision-making process about expanding operations in a different region of the world.

The U.S. Department of State and Department of Commerce

The United States State Department is the branch of the U.S. government assigned to foreign affairs. As such, the U.S. Department of State files and maintains comprehensive country data repots on nearly every country of the world and makes those reports available to interested parties through their website.


MarketLine offers a comprehensive collection of information concerning companies, industries and countries in a variety of user-friendly formats, including interactive reports and databases. Compiled by their global research team, their products are ideal for helping you build a thorough understanding of markets, whether you’re researching for qualifications, jobs or business.

MarketLine’s company, industry and country information is available through the MarketLine website. Here you’ll find all our products including:

·         Industry profiles offering standardized market data (including size & segmentation) and competitive analysis

·         Company profiles for 50,000 public and private companies giving detailed insight into how companies are organized and function

·         Country profiles presenting easy-to-digest summaries and standardized data

·         Base Drivers Database featuring key macro-economic, social, demographic and industry statistics for 215 countries

·         Live feed of news, comment and analysis to keep you fully up-to-date with all the latest business developments

International Futures Forecasting Model

The International Futures (IFs) forecasting model is a special software program devised by Dr. Barry Hughes of Denver University. Since its original system in 1980, the IFs software has evolved to be a powerful forecasting tool used by many top think tanks in Europe and the US to help shape strategies for the future.

Business Week

Business Week is a weekly magazine that presents trends in both U.S. domestic and international business.

Shaping Tomorrows

Shaping Tomorrows is a web-based source of trends in all areas of society.


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