Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Numbers Matter: ECA Country Profiles will assist member states to take more control of their own developmental narratives

Numbers Matter: ECA Country Profiles will assist member states to take more control of their own developmental narrativesAs challenging as it is for many countries to produce reliable and up to date statistics, the need to do so is critical in order to enable them to not just own their numbers but to track their progress and development.      

This was the prevailing sentiment at the launch of the Economic Commission of Africa's (ECA) Country Profiles. The profiles, covering 20 African nations, were launched during the African Development Week. The profiles go beyond a description of economic and social performance to include an analysis of the most pressing transformational issues and policies on the continent.

Ms. Giovanie Biha, ECA Deputy Executive Secretary, told delegates at the launch that in the long run, country profiles would be used as a tool through which the ECA will monitor the pace of structural transformation on the continent.    

The profiles cover countries in different sub-regions. In Central Africa: Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Congo and São Tomé and Príncipe. In East Africa: Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. In North Africa: Egypt, Morocco, and Sudan. In Southern Africa: Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia. In Western Africa: Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Niger and Senegal.     The ECA believes that country profiles will assist member states to take more control of their own developmental narratives, putting them in a better position to make evidence-based policy decisions. They are also intended to assist countries to identify niches for transformation.    

The broad picture across these countries highlights the relative performance of each. For example, over the 2012-2014 period, 14 of the 20 countries recorded real GDP growth rate above the African average of 3.9%. "Cote d'Ivoire was the fastest growing economy in 2014 with real GDP growth of 8.5 percent. Rwanda and Tanzania registered the second highest real GDP growth rate of 7%," said Ms. Biha.    

The data shows that 19 out of the 20 countries examined had current account deficits in 2013 and 2014, with the exception of Botswana. They show varying poverty rates ranging from Morocco at the top end (0.3%) to Zimbabwe at the bottom (72.3%).     Seven countries profiled had inflation levels above the African average of 7%. Three of these had double digit inflation - Sudan at 36.3% in 2013, Guinea at 12.3% and Tanzania at 10%. Read more....

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