ECOWAS urged to invest in quality data production

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 Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, the Commissioner of Macroeconomic Policy and Economic Research, ECOWAS, has encouraged member states to invest in accurate and quality data production to facilitate rapid socioeconomic growth.

He said the development of new and non-traditional data sources, including big data, would improve the provision of official statistics to leverage advances in new technologies that would make data production easier and more cost-effective in the region.

Dr Apraku said this on Monday at a three-day ECOWAS Regional Statistical Coordination Meeting in Accra.

It was to discuss the implementation of the World Bank project on: “Harmonising and Improving Statistics in West Africa (HISWA),” and solicit the beneficiary countries’ commitment for the effective implementation of the project.

The meeting was also to validate the Regional Framework and User Guide for compilation of National Accounts for the region and the Regional Framework and User Guide for compilation of Government Financial Statistics.

The ECOWAS Commission and the African Union have received a grant of 379 million dollars from the World Bank to implement the Project.

Dr Apraku said, over the years, financial resources had been a major challenge for the production of requisite statistical data needed for the ECOWAS Integration Agenda.

He said the Commission had been involved in resource mobilisation from various development partners for the implementation of its Regional Statistical Programme at the national and regional levels for statistical development.

That, he explained, was to sustain the effective functioning of the regional and national statistical systems through adequate human, material and financial resources.

The project would support the national and ECOWAS regional statistical systems in the production of up-to-date, reliable and harmonised statistics covering the social and economic sectors, Dr Apraku said.

Other areas participants would look at include issues on the implementation of the HISWA Project start-up activities and arrangement, key components and sub-component of the project and how ECOWAS Commission will coordinate the process.

They will also discuss the country-specific component and the regional component in terms of methodological guides, result monitoring framework, procurement and financial management procedures.

The meeting will articulate the Financial Management and Payment Mechanism, Budget Operation Manual, Result Framework and Grievance Reporting Mechanism of the project.

Dr Apraku expressed ECOWAS’ appreciation to the World Bank for supporting the project, and said the grant was a clear manifestation of the Bank and Africa’s commitment to the development of statistics in the Sub-region.

Professor Samuel Kobina Annim, the Government Statistician, said there was the need for benchmarking and rating of the operations of National Statistical Offices to engender high response of engagement and peer-learning.

He urged member countries to be guided by the discourse on data, being the new oil, with reference to the uniqueness of a digital economy as well as the capacity of data to determine the outcome of global, regional and in-country competition.

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