Gaining momentum to Harmonize Monetary Data in the East Africa Community


Harmonized monetary and financial statistics (MFS) in East African Community (EAC) countries is a key building block to move towards a monetary union. MFS for the union as a whole will support the formulation and implementation of sound macroeconomic and monetary policies to ensure sustainable economic growth and financial stability. Since 2014, the six partner states of the EAC — Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and South Sudan —have made substantial progress in harmonizing MFS for the central bank and other depository corporations (“commercial banks”). However, to keep up with the growing importance of nonbank financial institutions (NBFI), such as pension funds or insurance corporations, further work is also needed to advance the MFS compilation for NBFI in the EAC.


The IMF’s Statistics Department conducted a successful workshop during December 11–15, 2017 in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, to gain new momentum to the efforts of the EAC member states to harmonize MFS. The workshop was funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, with the main objective of supporting the preparations for the prospective EAC monetary union. Together MFS compilers from the six partner states of the EAC and supervisory authorities of the NBFI subsectors as well as the European Central Bank shared experiences, lessons learned and recommendations on how to move forward.


The workshop provided an essential forum for the Technical Working Group (TWG) on the Harmonization of MFS in EAC to convene. As a result, the TWG issued a new report containing key recommendations for further consideration of the EAC Monetary Affairs Committee and the Sectoral Council on Finance and Economic Affairs. The involvement of major EAC committees is instrumental to generate new momentum for efforts on harmonizing and compiling MFS. The workshop also showcased how the fruitful collaboration between the Bank of Uganda and the Insurance Regulatory Authority resulted in an expanded coverage of monetary data to include insurance corporations. The former serves as an example for other EAC countries and emphasizes the importance of collaboration between central banks and supervisory authorities. Moreover, a lecture on the balance sheet approach provided participants with first insights on how to identify risks and vulnerabilities in the financial positions of key sectors of an economy vis-à-vis other sectors and the rest of the world. Moving forward, sustained capacity development in EAC countries will be key to ensure the delivery of the agreed action plan.