Although Botswana is one of the slowest countries to implement reforms or recommendations, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has praised the diamond rich country for implementing a system that supports an improved data transparency.
The IMF’s Statistics Department visited Gaborone at the request of the authorities recently to assist with the implementation of the Enhanced General Data Dissemination System (e-GDDS), which was endorsed by the Executive Board in May 2015.
The international body said the mission helped redevelop the National Summary Data Page (NSDP), currently on the central bank website, utilizing the Open Data Platform installed with the support of the African Development Bank, to serve as a one-stop publication vehicle for essential macroeconomic data.
“This makes Botswana the first IMF member country to implement the recommendations of the e-GDDS,” the IMF said.
“The authorities are very pleased that Botswana is the first country to implement the e-GDDS. The new National Summary Data Page will give users access to full information about the e-GDDS data categories by endÔÇôJanuary 2016,” it added.
The IMF also said the publication of essential macroeconomic data through the new NSDP will provide national policy makers, a broad range of domestic and international stakeholders, including investors and rating agencies with easy access to information that the IMF’s Executive Board has identified as critical for monitoring economic conditions and policies.
“Making this information easily accessible in both human and machine readable formats will allow all users to have simultaneous access to timely data released on a disciplined dissemination schedule based on an Advance Release Calendar (ARC), which will bring greater data transparency, which will also be developed.”
Botswana has been criticized for poor data dissemination especially unreliable data from Statistics Botswana which normally released late trade data. For example, the agricultural and tourism statistics for 2012 were only released recently. However, the statistics agency recently pledged to improve information dissemination and it recently a survey on the users of its statistics.
The e-GDDS was established by the IMF’s Executive Board in May 2015 to support improved data transparency, encourage statistical development, and help create synergies between data dissemination and surveillance. The e-GDDS superseded the GDDS, which had been established in 1997.