IMF Launches Japanese-Funded Project to Improve External Sector Statistics in the Pacific
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) launched a three-year project this week aimed at building statistical capacity and improving external sector statistics in Pacific Island Countries. The project, funded by the Government of Japan, began with a November 13-16 workshop in Fiji, which brought together officials from nine beneficiary countries: Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu.
Ms. Sashee Nath, Statistician of the Fiji Bureau of Statistics, told the opening ceremony that the workshop represented “an important opportunity to discuss with IMF staff our most pressing methodological issues in external sector statistics and provide answers to our questions.”
The external sector of an economy summarizes the economic relationships with other countries, and accurate statistics in this area are essential to evaluating a country’s economic links with the rest of the world. The project aims to enhance the quality of external sector statistics and close data gaps, including in balance of payments, international investment position, services, external debt, and direct investment. Of special importance in the region, improvement of statistics on remittances will also figure among the main goals of the Project. The IMF’s Statistics Department will oversee the project and provide support and assistance primarily through a long-term expert based in the region for the three-year lifetime of the project. In addition, countries will benefit from hands-on visits by short-term experts. Technical workshops will be conducted to provide practical training and facilitate the sharing of experiences amongst the participating countries.
“This new project provides a very relevant increase in resources for statistical capacity building in the Pacific and complements the work of the Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Center (PFTAC),” said Mr. Michael Andrews, Multisector Statistics Advisor of the PFTAC, one of eight IMF regional technical assistance centers around the world.
“The IMF would like to thank Japan for its financial support and the Fiji Bureau of Statistics for hosting the Project office for the region,” said Mr. Eduardo Valdivia-Velarde, Deputy Chief of the Balance of Payments Division of the IMF’s Statistics Department. “Improved external sector statistics will be crucial to the continuing efforts by the countries of this region to enhance macroeconomic surveillance.”
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