1. OVERALL GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
The African Development Bank (AfDB) is a regional multilateral development finance institution established in 1964 and engaged in mobilizing resources towards the economic and social progress of its Regional Member Countries (RMCs). It is dedicated to combating poverty and improving the lives of Africans. Its mission is to promote economic and social development through loans, equity investments, and technical assistance.
The Bank complements its financial services with knowledge services to enhance development effectiveness and add value for clients. It supports the generation of, and access to, operationally relevant, multi-sector research on African development issues based on partnership with external academic and research institutions. It also contributes to the strengthening of regional member countries’ statistical capacity and systems needed to support effective national development. It is also taking on the mantle of leadership in infrastructure and water initiatives, as well as with respect to NEPAD and regional integration, by focusing resources to address the need of infrastructure development on the continent; in providing visibility and more focus on private sector operations; in growing present and future initiatives for which it has a leadership mandate; leveraging its capacity through partnership and continuously developing capacity and reinforcing its comparative advantage in selected areas.
The Bank gives priority to agriculture and rural development with emphasis on increasing productivity and income generation, to human capital formation through education, including tertiary education, and basic health services, including support to the fight against HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases. Significant support continues to be given to cross-cutting issues, such as governance, environmental protection, and gender concerns. Special attention is being given to the needs of post-conflict and fragile countries to assist them in reconstruction and launch them back to normal economic development programs.
2. STATISTICS DEPARTMENT (ESTA) OVERVIEW
The Bank has a Statistics Department (ESTA) within its Chief Economist Complex (ECON). ESTA’s primary role is to contribute to the effective development of RMC statistical capacity and systems for the provision of timely and reliable data for policy formulation, implementation and evaluation and monitoring of progress towards achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and, Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRSs). It is also responsible for providing statistical support to enhance the development effectiveness of Bank operations as well as its research and policy work in line with its aim to position itself as the key source of reliable and timely development data on African countries.
3. AfDB’s STATISTICAL CAPACITY BUILDING ACTIVITIES
Over the past several years, the Bank has steadily intensified its statistical capacity building (SCB) program in its RMCs, motivated by the need for reliable and up to date data for better measuring, monitoring and managing for development results. It provides its support through direct technical assistance and financial support to RMCs, operates in all 53 RMCs (though extremely limited in Somalia), and currently stands as the leading provider of technical and financial assistance to these countries.
The Bank implemented its SCB Phase I program during the period 2002-07, and is now implementing SCB Phase II program covering the period 2009-2010. The Bank provided over 80% of the grant support (about USD 77 million) to the countries while donor partners account for the remainder. ESTA managed and continues to manage all the resources including those from donors. Although some bilateral donors may provide in aggregate a larger amount of resources, these are usually targeted to specific countries of their interest and on implementation of surveys and censuses. The Bank’s approach, in addition, is to focus on public goods nature of statistics. Thus it emphasises regional and sub-regional activities where countries benefit through using common approaches thus achieving economies of scale.
The Bank’s technical assistance to countries is at two levels: (i) developing standard methodological approaches and (ii) assisting countries to adopt internationally accepted standards and best practices in their statistical activities. The knowledge packages are shared through regional seminars and training sessions involving experts from all RMCs and through specialized and individualized technical assistance provided to countries on a demand driven basis.
The Bank’s SCB program activities are anchored on (i) the Reference Regional Strategic Framework for Statistical Development in Africa (RRSF), which, along with other partners, led in its conception and design; and (ii) on the countries’ National Strategies for Statistical Development (NSDS).
The capacity building activities cover, but not limited, to the following main areas:
- Harmonization of Statistics in Africa;
- National Statistical Development Strategies (NSDSs);
- International Comparison Program for Africa (ICP-Africa);
- Price Statistics;
- National Accounts;
- Training of Country Officials and Assistance to Statistical Training Centres;
- Social Statistics (Population and housing censuses, household surveys, Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS), various sample surveys, etc);
- Labour Statistics;
- Agriculture and Rural Development Statistics;
- Infrastructure Statistics;
- Gender Statistics ;
- Governance Statistics;
- Environment and Climate Change Statistics;
- Data Development, Archiving, Dissemination (data processing, storage, and dissemination systems; exploiting unused or underutilized existing data); and
- Strengthening the system of staff training through Statistical Training Centers and universities and training of producers and users of statistics.
Strategy for the Harmonization of Statistics in Africa (SHaSA)
The AfDB, African Union Commission (AUC), and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) have jointly developed a Strategy for the Harmonization of Statistics in Africa (SHaSA) which is a continental effort that directly responds to the challenges of statistical development, as outlined in the RRSF. It is intended to support the African integration agenda, particularly the Minimum Integration Program (MIP), which was adopted by the Heads of State and Government in July 2009. The vision of the SHaSA is to generate timely, reliable, and harmonized statistical information, covering all aspects of political, economic, social, and cultural integration for Africa. The vision is anchored on four strategic pillars: (i) to produce quality statistics for Africa; (ii) to coordinate the production of quality statistics for Africa; (iii) to build sustainable institutional capacity of the African Statistical System; and (iv) to promote a culture of evidence-based decision-making.
Through its implementation, it is expected that comparable statistics will be generated to facilitate improved program implementation and decision-making in support of the regional integration agenda for Africa. Key activities and products generated from the strategic focal areas include: the adoption of international standards and common methods adjusted to African realities; better coordination of statistical development efforts; and sustained production of harmonized statistics to inform policy decisions and facilitate the integration of Africa into the global economic system (by increasing intra-African trade flows, free movement of people and goods and services, harmonized monetary policies etc.).
National Statistical Development Strategies (NSDs)
One of the key recommendations of the RRSF is to support RMCs to develop NSDSs. The Bank is among the leading institutions in this international initiative to support African countries, financially and technically, to develop, update, or implement their NSDSs. The NSDS is intended to meet the national data needs for the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of poverty reduction strategies (PRSs) and National Development Plans (NDPs). It defines, in a fully participatory way with national stakeholders and development partners, a coordinated roadmap for statistical development in the country. It forms the statistical platform of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), which constitutes the principal instrument of dialogue with donors, and is the foundation for the Bank’s Country Strategy Paper (CSP).
International Comparison Program for Africa (ICP-Africa)
The AfDB managed the 2005 round of ICP for Africa (ICP-Africa), which was the first time an African institution had assumed such responsibility since the inception of ICP. Previous rounds of ICP in Africa had been managed by Eurostat. The Bank successfully implemented the 2005 round of ICP-Africa, which involved 48 countries and generated reliable and timely ICP data, including prices and expenditure levels on all GDP items. The ensuing PPPs were computed by the Bank and incorporated in the global results of the World Bank. Following the success of the 2005 ICP round, the international community requested the AfDB to continue managing the ICP in Africa. The 2011 round was recently launched by the Bank in Nairobi at the end of June 2010. Data collection is scheduled to be simultaneously conducted in all 52 participating African countries, over a 12-month period starting in January 2011. The Bank will provide assistance to RMCs to build their capacity for poverty measurement, with the aim of improving poverty statistics and integrating poverty-specific PPPs into the mainstream ICP-Africa.
The Bank is assisting RMCs to improve the quality and timeliness of primary price data. ESTA’s main activities in this area include: (i) streamlining and improving the timeliness and the quality of country data through wider coverage and in-depth scope to ensure the representativeness of the indices; (ii) updating survey frames; (iii) integrating ICP/HCPI (Harmonized Consumer Price Indices) lists to reduce duplications and overlaps; (iv) improving staff capabilities through workshops and on-the-job training; and (v) supporting regional integration efforts through the establishment of HCPIs by regional economic groupings. The Bank is providing extensive methodological and financial support in this area to Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States (CEMAC), and West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) countries, and is now extending its support to the entire Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region. Bank support in this area has led to the production of more robust price indices, inflation indices, cost-of-living adjustments, and other economic price indicators (e.g. comparative wages for workers in industry, agriculture, construction, and services sectors).
The Bank provides assistance to RMCs to improve their national accounts systems through on-the-job training, workshops, and seminars. The aim is to assist countries to attain a level of at least SNA93 (System of National Accounts 1993), with a gradual progression to the new SNA08 (System of National Accounts 2008). In this latter context, ESTA has developed an African Strategy for the Implementation of SNA08 and is preparing manuals and guidelines for RMCs. ESTA also helps countries to disaggregate GDP data by expenditure, to assist in the computation of PPPs and the compilation of national accounts data.
Training of Country Officials and Assistance to Statistical Training Centers (STCs)
ESTA undertakes regional and sub-regional training seminars for officials from RMCs and various organizations on a variety of topics, including: price survey methodologies, GDP breakdown, data quality control, and MDG database development. The training seminars have also covered the Bank’s procurement, disbursement, and audit procedures to facilitate effective implementation of statistical project activities in the 52 RMCs currently supported by AfDB. Through its workshops and seminars, the Bank has trained over 3,000 participants from all RMCs and a wide variety of African consultants. It is currently working with UNECA on training the Heads of Statistical Offices in the areas of human resources management and strategic planning.
The Bank, through its Statistics Department, also provides technical and financial support to the six regional Statistical Training Centers (STCs) to develop curricula relevant to national statistical systems, produce training materials, and train national staff in statistical methodology, data archiving, etc. Its approach emphasizes highly specialized and practical techniques not typically taught in university courses. In addition, the Bank facilitates on-the-job training arrangements as well as regional/subregional workshops and seminars. Training activities are geared for planners, administrators, and policymakers who need timely, accurate, and relevant statistics in order to plan, carry out, and evaluate their programs, projects, and policies. All these forums facilitate the sharing of ideas and experiences among professionals from different countries.
ESTA is assisting RMCs to improve their social statistics in five key areas:
- Population and Housing Censuses: ESTA is helping countries prepare for the 2010 Round of Population and Housing Census (RPHC), assisting them to process the data and analyze the results;
- MDGs Monitoring and Assessment: Assisting RMCs to improve the quality of their data for monitoring progress toward the MDGs, with the emphasis firmly on using nationally produced data rather than relying entirely on international data, which has tended to be the case in the past;
- Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS): Providing methodological support to improve the collection of CRVS by RMCs. More frequent and timely data are crucial to update (in between censuses and sample surveys) such indicators as infant mortality rates, child mortality rates, and maternal mortality rates. Such data are critical for monitoring the MDGs and improving the information base for development policy management;
- Education: In line with the UN’s “Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014)” initiative, ESTA is leading the Technical Advisory Committee on Education Monitoring Information Systems (TAC-EMIS) jointly with L’Association pour le développement de l’éducation en Afrique (ADEA) and UNESCO. As part of this initiative, it has supported the establishment of a harmonized EMIS in Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), SADC, and ECOWAS countries. Curricula have also been finalized with STCs in the area of Education Management, in order to enhance country capacities for data development; and
- Health: Providing methodological support to countries to improve the collection and analysis of health data. This involves liaising with RMCs on the effective use of civil registries and health information systems to monitor health indicators, and particularly to assess progress on the health MDGs.
ESTA is assisting RMCs to improve their labor statistics through: (i) preparing operational and methodological guidebooks to help in the conduct of labor force surveys and household expenditure surveys; (ii) assisting with labor surveys; (iii) providing technical and operational support to countries to undertake labor statistics classifications and to develop business registers; and (iv) providing training for African sampling statisticians.
Agriculture and Rural Development Statistics
ESTA, in collaboration with FAO and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is leading efforts to design a comprehensive capacity-building program to improve agricultural and rural development statistics in African countries. A five-year trust fund (TF), to be replenished by donors, will be established and hosted by the AfDB in support of the Implementation Plan for Africa. The Plan will comprise three components: Technical Assistance (TA); training & research; and an umbrella framework to integrate the two and to ensure consistency and coherence of the technical components. The Plan is scheduled to be finalized in September 2010 in readiness for the International Conference on Agricultural Statistics, which is scheduled to take place in October 2010. The Bank is also designing a database on agriculture and food statistics to inform agriculture and food policy management in RMCs.
The Bank has been assigned the lead role in Africa in the area of infrastructure statistics. The objective of this initiative is to achieve a major improvement in the country-level knowledge base of the infrastructure sector. This will provide a benchmark against which future improvements in infrastructure services can be measured, thereby facilitating a better assessment of the developmental impact of increased financial flows to the sector. It should also provide a more solid empirical foundation for prioritizing investments and designing policy reforms in the infrastructure sectors in Africa. The infrastructure sectors covered are: energy; information and communications technology (ICT); water and sanitation; and transportation (airports, ports, railroads, roads, and urban transportation). In this respect, a number of data collection activities relating to these sectors have been carried out. They include data on the fiscal costs relating to each of the sectors, future sector investment needs, sector performance indicators, and unit costs of projects in each sector. So far, data have been collected on 24 countries and plans are underway to complete data collection in the rest of the countries by the end of 2010.
The primary purpose of the Bank’s gender statistics program is to generate relevant statistical information to support the Bank’s efforts to mainstream gender-responsive actions into its development work in Africa. Activities undertaken by ESTA have included: (i) the development of gender indicators to facilitate the generation of baseline gender-sensitive data in RMCs; (ii) helping to launch the Kampala City Group on Gender Statistics, a forum where African stakeholders and regional partners can propose, support, and address issues, needs, and challenges related to the development of gender statistics in PRSPs and MDG monitoring, (iii) support for gender analytical work in countries that have conducted household sample surveys in relatively new areas such as time-use surveys, (iv) in collaboration with UNECA, support for the development of a manual to engender population and housing censuses, household surveys, and vital and civil registries; and (v) assisting in piloting a gender indicators questionnaire in the areas of formal and informal employment in Botswana and Mali, and employment in agriculture in Tanzania.
ESTA is working with the Bank’s Governance Department (OSGE) to develop a governance database, with a view to substantially improving the quality of analysis on governance issues. The database will provide objective and verifiable information on 25 to 30 key indicators of governance on an annual basis. The database will also address the needs of Country Governance Profiles, Country Portfolio and Institutional Assessments, private sector operations, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), among others.
Environment and Climate Change Statistics
ESTA currently collects data and maintains and updates indicators on the environment in the DP. In consultation with the Operations department, it is developing a comprehensive list of indicators on climate change to assist RMCs to collect and compile relevant data in this area.
Data Development, Archiving, and Dissemination
The Bank assists countries to improve their data processing, storage, and dissemination systems, including how to exploit unused or underutilized data more effectively. Within the Bank, ESTA maintains a Data Portal which provides all staff with online access to all the ESTA databases, with extended public coverage scheduled for year-end 2010.
In addition to the above capacity building activities, ESTA, in line with Bank’s policy of gradual de-concentration and de-centralization of its activities through opening national and regional offices, has established a far-reaching statistical coordination network implanted in (i) 52 RMCs and in 5 Sub-Regional Organizations (Economic and Statistical Observatory for Sub-Saharan Africa (AFRISTAT), COMESA, ECOWAS, SADC, and soon AMU) which coordinate ESTA’s programs at national and sub-regional levels respectively; and (ii) in 6 regional training centers (ENSEA in Côte d’Ivoire, ENEA in Senegal, EASTC in Tanzania, ISAE in Uganda, ISSEA in Cameroun and INSEA in Morocco) through which the Bank facilitates statistical training in the region.
In undertaking all these activities, ESTA has developed a network of partnerships with other bilateral and multilateral development partners with regard to providing technical assistance, funding, monitoring and supervision. The network of partners includes the World Bank, IMF, PARIS21, UNECA, UNDP, DFID-UK, INSEE-France, African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), ILO, FAO, UNSD, WHO etc).
The Bank contributes to the funding of the three regional African Regional Technical Assistance Centers (AFRITACS) on enhancing capacity-building in macroeconomic statistics for improving the quality of macroeconomics data, through technical assistance.
The AfDB and the IMF fund the Joint-Africa Institute for providing training to country officials at its headquarters in Tunis.
As part of its knowledge generation and dissemination program, the Statistics Department also prepares a variety of publications including the following:
(i) The Compendium of Statistics presents data on operational activities of the Bank Group (Approvals, Disbursements, Cancellations, Co-Financing etc);
(ii) The African Statistical Yearbook focuses on socioeconomic statistics for the 53 RMCs. The data are harmonized with those of the African Union and ECA. The publication is a result of joint efforts by the 3 Pan-African regional organizations to set up a joint mechanism for collecting socioeconomic data on African countries as well as developing a common harmonized database;
(iii) Gender, Poverty and Environmental Indicators provides statistics on gender, poverty and environmental trends in the 53 RMCs;
(iv) ADB Statistics Pocket Book is a summary of economic and social data on regional member countries and on the operational activities of the African Development Bank Group;
(v) The African Statistical Journal is a bi-annual journal established to promote the understanding of statistical development in the African region. It focuses on issues relating to official statistics as well as the application of statistical methodologies to solve practical problems of general interest to applied statisticians including how statistics can help to illuminate development and public policy issues such as poverty, gender, environment, climate change, energy, HIV/AIDS, etc.;
(vi) The MDGs Report jointly prepared with the AU, UNECA and UNDP provides an assessment of the progress being made by RMCs toward meeting the MDGs;
(vii) The ICP Results Report on the Comparative Outputs, Incomes and Price Levels in African Countries; and
(viii) The Annual Report of the Bank Group: ESTA coordinates its preparation.
Received October 2010