Ghana and six other West African countries have been allocated US$379 million by the Board of the World Bank Group in International Development Association’s (IDA) credits and grants to help harmonise and strengthen statistical systems.
The other six ECOWAS countries are Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo.
According to the World Bank Group, the funds are to support the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in their efforts to deepen regional integration in Africa.
The new project, Harmonising and Improving Statistics in West Africa (HISWA), aims to strengthen the statistical systems of participating countries and regional and sub-regional bodies, in order to help them harmonise, produce, disseminate and enhance the use of core economic and social statistics.
Good data, the World Bank Group said, are essential to address the socio-economic development challenges facing the West Africa region in general, and the seven beneficiary countries in particular.
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 include, inter alia: the harmonisation of methodologies by the ECOWAS Commission; strengthened production of core economic and social statistics, including 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 stated objectives.
Beyond the National Statistics Offices and the regional bodies, HISWA will provide reliable microdata, data platforms and statistics bulletins to a larger audience, including universities, researchers, students and the general public.
The project is also relevant to the Strategy for Harmonisation of Statistics in Africa (SHaSA2), the continent-wide initiative aimed at addressing the constraints facing African statistical systems and promoting its regional integration agenda. It also supports the implementation of ECOWAS’s regional strategy 2019-2023 that aims to raise the living standards of its member country populations.
By generating data critical to national and regional planning and monitoring, the project remains well 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.
The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) , established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives.
IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa.