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General Data Dissemination System (GDDS)
               Project for
           Anglophone Africa

                     October 15, 2001

    For more information, please contact Mr. Jan Bové at

The IMF is launching a new regional project for statistical development in a group of
Anglophone African countries1. The project is being financed through a generous
contribution from the U. K. Department for International Development (DFID). The purpose
of the project, which has been financed for an initial period of two years, is to achieve a
sustainable improvement in the capacity of participating countries’ statistical systems to
enable the production and dissemination of reliable, timely, and relevant macroeconomic and
socio-demographic statistics. The project will include an integrated approach to statistical
capacity building by identifying strengths and weaknesses in participating countries’ current
statistical systems, developing plans for improvement, and providing technical assistance to
help countries implement their plans for improvement. The project is being undertaken in
collaboration with the World Bank, and the IMF would welcome the close association of
other bilateral and multilateral providers of assistance.

The Fund’s General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) will provide the framework for the
project. The purposes of the GDDS, which was approved by the Executive Board of the IMF
in December 1997, are to (i) encourage member countries to improve data quality; (ii)
provide a framework for evaluating needs for data improvement and setting priorities in this
respect; (iii) guide member countries in the dissemination to the public of comprehensive,
timely, accessible, and reliable economic, financial, and socio-demographic statistics.
Participation by member countries in the GDDS involves the preparation of metadata, i.e.,
the description of current practices for producing and disseminating statistics, and plans to
improve these practices. The emphasis of the GDDS on dissemination, and institutional as
well as methodological aspects, is aimed at achieving a durable strengthening in statistical
capacity in countries.

To introduce this project, to explain its purposes and modalities, and to indicate the costs to
be incurred and benefits to be gained for participating countries, the IMF will invite three
senior officials from statistical agencies to attend a preparatory meeting from December 3–5,
2001 in Gaberone, Botswana. Other agencies will be invited to attend this meeting as
observers. The first phase of the project will consist of producing the GDDS metadata for
inclusion on the IMF’s Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board (DSBB). As part of the first
phase of the project, the IMF will work with countries to develop all the materials necessary
for participation in the GDDS. Countries will be invited to send officials to a two-week
workshop, tentatively scheduled for February 2002, at which statistical specialists will assist

  Countries that will be invited to participate in the project include Botswana, Eritrea,
Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan,
Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. A number of additional countries that already participate
in the GDDS may be associated with the project.

them in preparing the metadata for macroeconomic statistics (real, fiscal, financial, and
external sectors) and socio-demographic data. The second phase of the project will consist of
implementation of the plans for improvement with the help of the technical experts who
assisted countries in the development of these plans. Experts will be available in each
statistical area for country missions and a regional expert, who will be resident in a
participating country, will visit countries to advise on a range of data dissemination issues, as
well as support the work of the topical experts. The second phase will last about 18 months,
but, if sufficient progress is made in participating countries, financing for an additional two
years may be mobilized.

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