Botswana is considered to be among the first African countries to subscribe to Special Data Dissemination Standards (SDDS) from the support of International Monetary Fund (IMF).
IMF has provided consistent, structured and valuable support with the project now in its third stage after collaborating with the World Bank and with financial backing from the United Kingdom’s department for International Developments.
Bank of Botswana (BoB) Deputy Governor Oduetse Motshidisi says Botswana applies inter alia, to national accounts, balance of payments and monetary statistics.
Speaking at the Regional SDDS working in Gaborone on Monday, he said that Botswana has progressed on organizational improvements such as the recent establishment of Statistics Botswana which is an autonomous entity.
Motshidisi recalled that in 2002, Botswana hosted the launch of the first stage of the regional General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) project for Anglophone Africa.
He pointed out that the challenge being faced today is making determined progress towards reaching the next stage which is subscription to SDDS.
“It is not enough to be able to point to specific areas of improvement. SDDS is a complete package and a country’s commitment is only as strong as its weakest link,” he said.
He emphasized that to succeed, it is important that countries appreciate the crucial distinction. He added that GDDS is a framework for the assessment of data quality in key dimensions of accuracy, periodicity and timeliness and or identifying areas for improvement
“With this framework, GDDS can accommodate a wide range of statistical standards while the SDDS is an internationally recognized guarantee that the national statistical system as a whole has both attained and maintained high standards,” said Motshidisi.
He also revealed that Mauritius is the only country other than South Africa that has so far managed to match the requirements of SDDS. He stated that he expects a key area of focus to be how each country can make the best use of the limited opportunities for flexibility that are provided for within the SDDS framework.
“The rapid development of African economies in recent years inevitably places considerable demands on national statistical systems,” said Motshidisi.
He pointed out that the recent exercises rebasing national accounts have been published in countries such Ghana and Botswana while that of Nigeria is due shortly. He added that the capacity of national statistical offices in many cases remains severely constrained by inadequate resources, in financial and human terms.
“The need to monitor progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goal is a good example of why according top priority to SDDS may not be self0evident in the eyes of policymakers,” Motshidisi stated.