The project, dubbed the Billion Dollar Map, "will unlock the true worth of Africa's mineral endowment," Tom Butler, mining specialist at the Bank's private finance arm, the International Finance Corp., said Wednesday.
Speaking in Cape Town, South Africa, Butler said most of Africa's subsoil resources have not been surveyed.
Doing so, in a public way, would be useful to policy makers, investors and the public, helping to boost development, he said, according to prepared remarks.
"There is yet an enormous amount of wealth left to discover," he said.
"Coupled with in-country training and institutional support, and the work of exploration companies, this initiative will unlock the true worth of Africa's mineral endowment."
The World Bank , which calls accessible data on resources a "public good", said it has already invested over $200m in developing geological data for Africa over the past 10 years.
Currently, it is supporting a comprehensive airborne geological survey of the entire country of Malawi.