The World Bank Group (WBG) has allocated US$379 million to Ghana and six other West African countries to help them harmonise and strengthen their statistical systems.
The six other ECOWAS countries are Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo.
The facility was approved by the Board of the World Bank Group in International Development Association (IDA) on 27th March, 2020.
According to the WBG, the funds is to support the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in their efforts to deepen regional integration in Africa.
Harmonizing and improving statistics
On Harmonizing and strengthening Statistics in West Africa (HISWA), which is a new project, the WBG says it is aimed at improving the statistical systems of participating countries and regional and sub-regional bodies, in order to help them harmonize, produce, disseminate and enhance the use of core economic and social statistics.
Good data, according to the WBG, are critical to addressing the myriad of socio-economic development challenges facing the West Africa region.
HISWA is a regional project that will stimulate demand for data and increase the capacity of the National Statistics Offices in the beneficiary countries.
Key activities among others, include, the harmonization of methodologies by the ECOWAS Commission; improved production of core economic and social statistics.
Other activities are demographic and poverty statistics, national accounts and price statistics; the improvement of targeted administrative statistics; capacity-building, data dissemination and institutional reforms.
The project will also help to improve and modernize physical and statistical infrastructure to help achieve its core objectives.
In addition to this, the HISWA will provide reliable microdata, beyond the National Statistics Offices and the regional bodiesdata platforms and statistics bulletins to a larger audience, including universities, researchers, students and the general public.
Also, the project is relevant to the Strategy for Harmonization of Statistics in Africa (SHaSA2), the continent-wide intervention targeted at addressing the various constraints facing African statistical systems and promoting its regional integration agenda.
It will also support the implementation of ECOWAS’s regional strategy for 2019-2023 that aims to raise the living standards of its member country populations.
Furthermore, the project will be aligned with the World Bank Group’s Regional Integration and Cooperation Assistance Strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa and will help strengthen the connection between regional policy commitments and national planning
This will be done by generating data critical to national and regional planning and monitoring.
The IDA is an international financial institution which offers concessional loans and grants to the world’s poorest developing countries and it is a member of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. in the United States.
It was established in 1960 to complement the existing International Bank for Reconstruction and Development by lending to developing countries which sufferthe lowest gross national income, from troubled creditworthiness, or from the lowest per capita income.
The IDA countries are home to a quarter of the world’s population, having two-thirds of the world’s population languishing in extreme poverty.