WASHINGTON, September 28, 2023 – The World Bank today approved $290 million in credits and grants from the International Development Association (IDA)* to improve and harmonize data systems in Central Africa. The new financing will enhance evidence-based decision-making, resource allocation, accountability and transparency in a region that is home to over 120 million people living in extreme poverty.
The Harmonizing and Improving Statistics in West and Central Africa (HISWACA) Project, Phase 2, will build statistical capacity to improve the quality of data production, regional harmonization, data access and use, as well as modernize statistical systems in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, and Chad. It will also support the statistical division of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) to better coordinate and improve the harmonization of statistics across the region.
“Expanding HISWACA to Central Africa is critical to accelerate poverty reduction and promote equitable growth,” said Boutheina Guermazi, World Bank Director for Regional Integration for Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Northern Africa. “Moreover, high-quality data are most needed to advance regional economic integration, which is one of the key priorities for the region”.
While considerable efforts have been made to improve statistical capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa, progress has been slow and uneven across countries. Most Western and Central African countries currently rank among the bottom 40% globally on the World Bank’s new Statistical Performance Indicators (SPI), which assess a country’s statistical system’s ability to meet users’ needs and contribute to better decision-making.
“Well-performing modern statistical systems that produce high-quality data are critical to help improve lives and livelihoods. This second phase expands our regional portfolio and will be a game-changer to transform the data landscape in West and Central African economies and for their people,” said Johan A. Mistiaen, World Bank Practice Manager for Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions for Western Africa.
The availability of high-quality statistics is key for successful implementation of poverty reduction strategies, economic progress, and development outcomes.
The new financing brings the total World Bank’s investment in HISWACA to $750 million.
*The International Development Association (IDA) is the World Bank’s fund for the poorest. Established in 1960, it provides grants and low to zero-interest loans 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 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. IDA resources help effect positive change in the lives of the 1.6 billion people living in the countries that are eligible for its assistance. Since its inception, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments are constantly on the rise and have averaged $21 billion over the past three years, with about 61% going to Africa.