IMF Launches Japan-Funded Project to Improve External Sector Statistics in Central and West African Countries

August 29, 2016

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) launched on August 29, 2016 a three-year capacity development project to improve the external sector statistics in Central and West Africa. Introduced at the African Training Institute (ATI) in Mauritius, this project has been made possible by the generous support of the Government of Japan. Its opening workshop at the ATI brought together mid– and senior–level central bank officials of 17 Francophone beneficiary countries. 1 Representatives of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) and of the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) also participated in the workshop.

The project aims to enhance external sector statistics quality and close data gaps in key areas such as balance of payments statistics, the international investment position, and external debt statistics. It will support beneficiary countries’ efforts to improve the accuracy, timeliness, comparability, and reliability of external sector statistics for better policy analysis and economic decision-making, thereby also informing IMF surveillance. The project will also facilitate greater regional economic integration in the CEMAC and the WAEMU regions.

Mr. Louis Marc Ducharme, Director of the IMF’s Statistics Department, emphasized: “Timely and high-quality external sector statistics are essential for policymakers at both the national and regional levels to better understand countries’ external positions, risks and vulnerabilities as a basis for designing and implementing sound macroeconomic policies. The project will provide the participants with opportunities to discuss common challenges, share experiences, and promote peer-to-peer learning, with a view to enhancing their external sector statistics.”

Mr. Vikram Punchoo, Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Mauritius, said at the opening ceremony: “Recently, Mauritius benefited also from a similar project. As a result, the Bank of Mauritius further improved the coverage of the balance of payments statistics and started the compilation of its international investment position and external debt. The project also facilitated the authorities’ subscription to the Special Data Dissemination Standard in 2012.”

1 The six member states of the Central Economic and Monetary African Community (CEMAC): Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon; the eight member states of the West African Economic Monetary Union (WAEMU): Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo; as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, and Guinea.

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