United Kingdom Contributes US$7.5 Million to Support IMF Technical Assistance in Statistics in Africa

Press Release No. 10/136
April 7, 2010

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) have launched a new project to improve macroeconomic statistics in 23 African countries. DFID will provide US$7.5 million over the next five years to support the project.

The Enhanced Data Dissemination Initiative (EDDI) builds on the successes of two preceding DFID-funded statistics projects for Africa implemented by the IMF between 2002 and 2009. These resulted in the widespread participation of African countries in the General Data Dissemination Standard (GDDS), which the IMF supports as part of its work to improve the quality of members’ economic, financial, and socio-demographic statistics. With the GDDS framework for the improvement of statistics now firmly established, the new project will focus on wider dissemination and international comparability of data, as well as their improved quality, timeliness, frequency, and transparency.

The main areas for technical assistance and training will include statistics on national accounts, monetary sector, government finance and balance of payments. All participating countries in the project will have specific targets to be achieved by the end of the project. For example, by the end of the project all countries will be expected to produce National Summary Data Pages and Advance Release Calendars on their national websites, and a number of project countries will have subscribed to the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS), a more exacting standard than the GDDS.

The new project’s objectives will be consistent with those of regional organizations, such as the harmonization of statistics within the East African Community (EAC) and the South African Development Community (SADC). IMF statistics experts will undertake technical missions to individual countries and lead regional workshops and seminars, working with regional organizations and agencies to promote an exchange of experiences and lessons learned within the regions. Close coordination with the IMF Regional Technical Assistance Centers in Africa (AFRITACs) is built into the design of the project.

“We appreciate very much DFID’s continuing support for statistical capacity-building in Africa, as it enables us to scale up substantially the much needed technical assistance and training in all areas of macroeconomic statistics in Africa,” said Adelheid Bürgi-Schmelz, Director of the IMF Statistics Department. “The overall goal of the project is that improved quality and timeliness of macroeconomic statistics will contribute to more effective design, implementation, and monitoring of economic policies and poverty reduction strategies in Africa.”

Background

Demand for the IMF’s technical assistance is rising in light of the global economic and financial crisis as countries work on strengthening their institutions. To meet this demand and to better coordinate assistance delivery, the Fund is strengthening its partnerships with donors by engaging with them on a broader, longer-term, and more strategic basis.

An expanding network of Regional Technical Assistance Centers complemented by a number of Topical Trust Funds (TTFs) will provide global coverage and a specialized topical scope. The IMF launched its first TTF on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism in May 2009 (see Press Release No. 09/108). Other TTFs are planned over the next year in the areas of natural resource management, tax policy and administration, public financial management, development of sustainable debt strategies, compilation of statistics relevant to financial stability, and macroeconomic training for officials from African countries.

The GDDS was established in 1997 to guide countries in the provision to the public of comprehensive, timely, accessible, and reliable economic, financial, and socio-demographic data. This site provides information on data produced and disseminated by member countries that participate in the GDDS. The SDDS was established in 1996 to guide countries that have, or that might seek, access to international capital markets in the dissemination of economic and financial data to the public. This site provides information about economic and financial data disseminated by member countries that subscribe to the SDDS.

Useful links:

Technical Assistance at the IMF: http://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/facts/tech.htm

DFID homepage: http://www.dfid.gov.uk/

GDDS Factsheet: http://dsbb.imf.org/vgn/images/pdfs/GDDS_factsheet_web.pdf

GDDS Homepage: http://dsbb.imf.org/Applications/web/gdds/gddshome/

SDDS Homepage: http://dsbb.imf.org/Applications/web/getpage/?pagename=overview



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