IMF, Ghana high­light value of data for eco­nomic poli­cies

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

One of the largest re­gional con­fer­ences on the im­por­tance of data for bet­ter macroe­co­nomic poli­cies was con­cluded to­day in Ac­cra, Ghana. Or­ga­nized by the Govern­ment of Ghana, the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund (IMF), and the United King­dom Depart­ment for In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment (DFID), the con­fer­ence brought to­gether pol­i­cy­mak­ers from over forty African coun­tries as well as rep­re­sen­ta­tives from academia, banks, rat­ing agen­cies, think tanks, and in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions. Par­tic­i­pants at the con­fer­ence com­mit­ted them­selves to pro­mot­ing the dis­sem­i­na­tion of data for en­hanced ev­i­dence­based eco­nomic de­ci­sion-mak­ing. More specif­i­cally, their dis­cus­sions were fo­cused on the im­por­tance of ac­cu­rate eco­nomic data for anal­y­sis and eco­nomic pol­icy-mak­ing, the spe­cial chal­lenges of re­gional in­te­gra­tion for macroe­co­nomic sta­tis­tics, and the ben­e­fits of data trans­parency for pol­icy-mak­ing.

The Ghana­ian Min­is­ter of Fi­nance and Eco­nomic Plan­ning, Seth Terkper opened the con­fer­ence and the IMF Deputy Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Min Zhu, de­liv­ered a key-note speech on en­hanc­ing data for macro poli­cies. "In Africa, as else­where, we need to jump ahead of cri­sis man­age­ment when it comes to data, and seek to en­hance the gath­er­ing, pro­cess­ing, dis­sem­i­na­tion and anal­y­sis of data to help us for­mu­late and im­ple­ment the best pos­si­ble set of eco­nomic and fi­nan­cial poli­cies," said Zhu. Re­flect­ing the sig­nif­i­cance that se­nior of­fi­cials at­tached to this con­fer­ence, the Kenyan Cen­tral Bank Gov­er­nor, Pa­trick Njoroge stated: "The con­fer­ence pro­vided a unique op­por­tu­nity for high-level de­ci­sion mak­ers to ex­change ideas and ex­pe­ri­ences so that we can work to­gether to strengthen the data used for pol­icy mak­ing."

The Di­rec­tors of the IMF African and Sta­tis­tics De­part­ments Ms. An­toinette Sayeh and Mr. Louis Marc Ducharme, re­spec­tively also pro­vided dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives on how data sup­ports ef­fec­tive pol­i­cy­mak­ing. DFID Chief Statis­ti­cian, Mr. Neil Jack­son, spoke to the con­fer­ence about the ob­jec­tives and achieve­ments of the En­hanced Data Dis­sem­i­na­tion Ini­tia­tive (EDDI) where DFID has sup­ported IMF ca­pac­ity de­vel­op­ment ac­tiv­i­ties in Africa ben­e­fit­ing govern­ment agen­cies, na­tional pol­icy mak­ers, civil so­ci­ety and ex­ter­nal fund­ing part­ners.

The con­fer­ence cul­mi­nated with a round ta­ble to ex­plore the main chal­lenges that African coun­tries are fac­ing to en­hance data. This in­cluded: the ap­pro­pri­ate min­i­mum stan­dards and bench­marks for data qual­ity from a pol­icy maker's per­spec­tive, what can be done to ad­dress the ob­sta­cles, and how the IMF can sup­port th­ese ef­forts, es­pe­cially its tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance and train­ing sup­ported by ex­ter­nal part­ners. The con­fer­ence pre­sented par­tic­i­pants with an op­por­tu­nity to learn about the work on sta­tis­tics that the IMF has been do­ing in Africa, in­clud­ing with the sup­port of DFID through the EDDI pro­ject, now in its se­cond phase.

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