IMF seeks to improve statistical reporting in Central and West Africa

31 Aug 16

A project to improve the quality of external sector statistics in Central and West Africa has been launched by the International Monetary Fund.

Backed by Japan, the project will work to enhance the accuracy, timeliness, comparability and reliability of certain statistics relating to economic interactions between nations.

It will cover areas of the public and private sectors linked to the international economy, including imports and exports, capital flows and foreign exchange. The project aims to develop measures in areas like the balance of payments, the international investment position, external debt statistics and the current account, among others.  

The fund said this will make for better policy analysis and economic decision-making, thereby also informing IMF surveillance. It also hopes to facilitate greater integration between the two regions.

Launched on Monday at the African Training Institute in Mauritius, the project’s opening workshop brought together the mid- and senior-level central bank officials of 17 francophone beneficiary countries. Representatives of the Central Bank of West African States and the Central Bank of Central African states were also in attendance.  

Louis Marc Ducharme, director of the IMF’s statistics department, said the project will provide participants with opportunities to discuss common challenges, share experiences, and promote peer-to-peer learning, with a view to enhancing statistics.

“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 economic policies,” he highlighted.

Vikram Punchoo, second deputy governor of the Bank of Mauritius, explained how a similar project had benefited his bank.

“The Bank of Mauritius improved the coverage of the balance of payment 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,” he said. 

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