WASHINGTON, July 16, 2014 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved an IDA* credit of US$9 million for South Sudan to help strengthen the National Bureau of Statistics’ (NBS) capacity to produce and disseminate official statistics.
“The World Bank continues to support South Sudan’s efforts to develop the country’s national statistical system,” said Bella Bird, the World Bank Country Director for South Sudan. “The need for reliable data to guide and monitor the government’s reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts has become all the more pressing in the aftermath of the recent outbreak of conflict and the rapidly increasing number of internally displaced people. Having reliable and accurate statistics will expand the information and knowledge base in the country and lead to better decision-making.”
The Statistical Capacity Building project will contribute to the implementation of South Sudan’s National Strategy for the Development of Statistics to establish an integrated, professional, efficient and effective national statistical system. The project will mostly focus on surveys, which will aid the government’s reconstruction and rehabilitation effort and all activities will be planned and implemented in due consideration of the precarious security situation in some parts of the country.
In order to create long-term sustainability and performance of the statistical system the project will include activities to strengthen the legal and institutional framework for statistics in South Sudan. It will also help NBS become the lead organization in the national statistical system. This will require an assessment of NBS’ current organizational structure and implement changes to align the organization with its corporate objectives.
The lack of skills needed to manage and operate an effective and efficient statistical service has been identified as a major constraint for NBS and other data producers. The project will help evaluate the training needs across data producing agencies in South Sudan in order to create a training plan for staff and managers.
The project will also support activities to build the information and communications technology and statistical infrastructure and to boost data collection, processing, and dissemination of statistical products. It will also finance project planning and budgeting, management, monitoring and evaluation activities that will fall under the responsibility of NBS staff.
“Improvements in the relevance, timeliness, availability, and accuracy of priority statistics are key components to creating effective development policy,” said Thomas Danielewitz, the World Bank Task Team Leader of the project. “In order for these improvements to occur the project will help establish a solid foundation for project management including strengthening the necessary management and fiduciary functions in NBS.”
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing zero-interest loans and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 82 poorest countries, 40 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $16 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.