Economic Statistics and National Accounts
The Economic Statistics and National Accounts deals with the System of National Accounts, Balance of Payments, Government Finance Statistics, Monetary and Financial Statistics, Price Statistics, International Trade Statistics, Satellite Accounts on Household Production, and the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting. It is engaged mainly in promoting the production of harmonized and quality economic statistics in African countries by applying international statistical standards; providing advisory services and technical assistance to member States in the collection, compilation, analysis, and dissemination of economic statistics ; conducting methodological research to improve the production and use of economic statistics ; and serving as a clearing house for economic data from countries.
1. Priority Focus Areas of Economic Statistics and National Accounts
1.1 Improving Economic Statistics and Implementing the System of National Accounts in Africa
The System of National Accounts (SNA) is one of the most important international standards and systems in official statistics to provide a comprehensive and integrated set of macroeconomic statistics. It is also the backbone of various international standards for different economic and industrial statistics. The 2008 SNA is the latest version that addresses the recent changes in the economic environment, and provides users with a comprehensive understanding of the economy. For all countries, implementing the 2008 SNA is a global initiative and requirement. However, there are many African countries that are still in an early stage of the development of national accounts national accounting systems. The national accounts statistics are inadequate in the national statistical system of the countries due to limited human, financial, and technical resources as well as weak capacity and statistical infrastructure. To overcome the challenges in the compilation of national accounts statistics, African countries, with the support of the ECA, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Union Commission (AUC), and Regional Economic Communities (RECs), have developed a continental strategy and an action plan for the implementation of the 2008 SNA. Under the framework of the Strategy for the Harmonisation of Statistics in Africa (SHaSA), ECA is designated to be the leading agency to support member States in this area.
1.2 International Trade Statistics
International trade statistics is concerned with the provision of data on the movements of goods and services between countries and areas. International trade statistics play a crucial role in economic growth and development in general, and in promoting regional integration agenda on the African Continent, in particular. The ECA will continue to assist and support the member States in applying and implementing the international statistical standards in this area, including the related concepts, definitions, classifications, methodology as reflected in the latest International Merchandise Trade Statistics: Concepts and Definitions (2010) and the Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services (2010) for collecting trade statistics in the areas of merchandise trade and trade in services, respectively in order to produce comparable trade data.
1.3 Improving Environment Statistics and Accounts
Environment statistics constitute a fundamental basis for research and policies related to green economy and sustainable development. While the demand for such statistics is increasing with continued environmental degradation and the challenges associated with better management of the environment, there is a challenge to build national capacities to adequately collect and transform environment data into environment statistics. At present, many African countries do not have functional environment statistics units within their respective NSOs. ECA will continue to assist and support the member States to address the indicated challenge and to help African countries develop their environment statistics program by applying and implementing international statistical standards as reflected in the latest Framework for the Development of Environment Statistics (FDES), the Core Set of Environment Statistics, and the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA).
2. Expected Outcomes of Priority Focus Areas
• Improved institutional and technical capacity of the member States for the collection, processing, compilation, analysis, dissemination, and archiving of economic statistics and national accounts;
• Increased availability of timely and quality economic statistics and national accounts in support of policy research and making for development t efforts at national, sub-regional, regional, and international levels.
• Increased availability of related practical technical documents such as manuals, guidelines, and tools on concepts, definitions, classifications, methods, and standards based on international standard methodologies and adapted to the African context.
3. Proposed Activities of Priority Areas
• Support member States to carry out the regional strategy and action plan for the implementation of the 2008 SNA and improve the timely and quality of economic statistics;
• Provide technical assistance and support to strengthen institutional and technical capacity of the member States for the collection, processing, compilation, analysis, dissemination, and archiving of economic statistics and national accounts;
• Conduct research and develop manuals, guidelines and tools on the concepts, definitions, classifications, methods, and standards related to the production and use of economic statistics based on international standard methodologies that are adapted to the African context;
• Support countries in undertaking assessments of current practices in collecting, compiling and disseminating economic statistics and national accounts and establish reporting, monitoring, and evaluation system;
• Support countries in mobilizing resources for the compilation of economic statistics in collaboration with international and regional organizations.