What sites have basic background data about a country?
The World Bank site (http://www.worldbank.org/data) has 2-page summaries (pdf) of major indicators for 206 countries (181 members + 25 others). The World Bank’s “World Development Indicators” cd-rom (fee) has 800 indicators for each country. The IMF’s “International Financial Statistics” available in print/CD-ROM is one of the most comprehensive data sources. The joint BIS-IMF-OECD-World Bank statistics on external debt are free and online. UN’s Infonation (http://www.un.org/Pubs/CyberSchoolBus/infonation) allows one to select up to 4 indicators for up to 7 countries and to view the results. (30 data items for 189 countries) UNESCO’s (http://www.unescostat.unesco.org) provides extensive indicators for 200+ countries in both print and CD format. The U.N. provides value-added, employment and wages by country for 3-digit ISICs (http://www.unido.or.at/services/statistics).