By the num­bers

Business monthly (Egypt) - - EVENTS -

“Our data has to be ac­cu­rate, com­pre­hen­sive and trans­par­ent, be­cause coun­tries look at th­ese sta­tis­tics to as­sess Egypt’s in­vest­ment po­ten­tial and where op­por­tu­ni­ties are,” said Ma­jor Gen­eral Abou Bakr El Gendy, chair­man of the Cen­tral Agency for Pub­lic Mo­bi­liza­tion and Sta­tis­tics, bet­ter known as CAPMAS. He spoke at a Jan. 17 meet­ing of the AmCham Mar­ket­ing Com­mit­tee on “The Fu­ture of the Mar­ket Re­search In­dus­try in Egypt.”

To make sure its num­bers are cred­i­ble, CAPMAS be­longs to the United Na­tions Sta­tis­ti­cal Com­mis­sion. Each year, the com­mis­sion au­dits mem­ber agen­cies based on the pre­vi­ous year’s rec­om­men­da­tions and is­sues new ones for the com­ing year. “All our forms and break­downs are dis­cussed and up­dated by the U.N. com­mit­tee,” said Gendy. He also pointed out that CAPMAS re­lies al­most en­tirely on govern­ment data to cre­ate its re­ports, with the sur­veys it con­ducts ac­count­ing for just 15 per­cent of them.

Egypt’s big­gest chal­lenge, sta­tis­ti­cally speak­ing, is its boom­ing pop­u­la­tion, said Gendy. “This prob­lem is big­ger than ter­ror­ism at­tacks or eco­nomic slow­down.” In 2014, Egypt’s net pop­u­la­tion growth was 2.1 mil­lion. He com­pared this ex­po­nen­tial in­crease to a deadly virus that gets lit­tle at­ten­tion. “You can’t cure the virus if you don’t ac­knowl­edge that you have it,” he said. “No mat­ter how many projects we im­ple­ment or de­vel­op­ment projects we put forth, it will not be enough. It is a disas­ter, pe­riod.”

The se­cond most im­por­tant statis­tic that CAPMAS gen­er­ates is the rate of in­fla­tion. The agency tracks the prices of 1,000 prod­ucts in 15,000 out­lets ev­ery week to come up with the CPI fig­ure pub­lished in its monthly re­port. “We have to be re­ally ac­cu­rate with this stat in par­tic­u­lar, be­cause it af­fects Cen­tral Bank pol­icy,” he said.

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