As Yemen embarks on a process to rebuild, the question of how to create a sustainable and resilient economy has come to the fore. For the country’s future stability, it will be essential to ensure an environment in which viable economic institutions can thrive, while giving space for the private sector to develop and support broad-based and sustainable economic development. To do this, the country’s decision makers need reliable and timely data and statistics. Yemen’s Central Statistics Organisation (CSO) with other economic institutions in Yemen have started to assess how capacities currently align with the country’s economic data needs, and put into place a strategy to bolster capacity to deliver the necessary level of economic data collection and analysis.
The government of Yemen has called on OECD/PARIS21 to support this process. PARIS21’s long experience in supporting countries’ capacity as they develop national statistics strategy (NSDS), alongside its action-oriented NSDS guidance will be a valuable tool for CSO as it moves towards a new era in coordinating statistical development. As a part of its initial assessment in 2021, PARIS21 found that data collection efforts were impeded by several factors including that security constraints were hampering data collection efforts; resource constraints and fragmentation between CSO offices; and a lack of co-ordinations between ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), international organisations and NGOs.
PARIS21 recommended a Task Force be set up to address these issues. Focal points from a range of institutions in Yemen, as well as technical focal points from Yemen’s partners came together to take stock Yemen’s current statistical capacity and discuss ways forward. The workshop was organized thanks to the support of the EU and the OECD (GRC/MEA) project, Promoting Economic Resilience in Yemen, and host country, Jordan, and ran from 26-27 April 2023. Eighteen participants representing 11 economic institutions in Yemen were present including the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Central Bank of Yemen, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Oil , Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health, Tax Authority, Customs Authority and Central Statistical Organization.
Participants reviewed the Statistics Priority Action Plan including economic statistical activities and capacity needs and training programme, and identified actions to move forwards in developing better economic statistics. Yemen also benefitted from an intervention from the National Statistics Council of Tunisia who discussed how they had developed a coordination mechanism of the national statistics system which brings together producers and users of statistics in Tunisia. Furthermore, the workshop also allowed interaction of participants with developments partners supporting statistics in Yemen and shared available initiatives (UN Resident Coordination Office, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and FAO).
Yemen’s national statistical development strategy has a long way still to travel, however, identifying clear nationally owned data and capacity needs and objectives, utilising the support on offer from partners and being guided by experience of peers means that Yemen is building strong foundations to usher in a new era of statistics.