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Improving Statistical Capacity

This website is a resource for Bank staff interested in helping countries improve their statistical capacity. It provides data on the statistical capacity of countries, and helpful tools and processes that both staff and clients can use to make improvements.

It is maintained by the Statistical Development and Partnership Team of the Development Data Group. The team works to improve the quality, timeliness, and relevance of national and international statistics that support the Bank’s mission to fight poverty, by helping to improve the statistical capacity of client countries and international partners. The team can provide a variety of services, including advice and support for projects, management of partnership activities, and financial resources.


About Statistical Capacity

Statistical capacity is the ability of countries to meet user needs for good quality statistics – usually those statistics that are consider to be “official” (i.e. those statistics produced by governments as a public good). Timely and reliable statistics are a key part of development, particularly the broad development strategies that are often referred to as “managing for results”. The overarching strategy is guided by a global action plan (commonly referred to as the Marrakech Action Plan for Statistics or MAPS) to improve national and international statistics agreed during the Second Roundtable on Measuring for Results, held in Marrakech, Morocco, February 2004.

Perhaps Trevor Manual, South Africa’s former Finance Minister, puts the case for accurate and reliable statistics best:

Whether we wish to adjust the size of our fiscal deficit, increase social spending, pursue macroeconomic convergence in the region, or assess progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, accurate, timely, useful data lie at the heart of all these efforts… Achieving the right policies requires the management of trade-offs informed by good statistics.”

Guidance, Tools and Services

A range of guidance materials, tools and services are available to staff and to clients.

  • Advice on management of projects related to statistical capacity building, including advice on the development of Statistical Master Plans and National Strategies for the Development of Statistics
  • Guidance on incorporating statistical capacity issues in Country Assistance Strategies in IDA countries (an IDA15 requirement)Advice on statistical issues in Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers
  • Knowledge, including guidance on statistical capacity building , information about the status of statistical systems and statistical capacity in countries , information on World Bank activities and activities of donors

Financial instruments for statistical capacity building. The Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building (TFSCB) and the STATCAP lending program primarily provide financial support for countries. The Development Grant Facility supports a global partnership to implement MAPS;

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