Posted by: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

Tunisia is the first African and Arab country to lay the groundwork for the adoption of SDMX (Statistical Data and Metadata eXchange), which promotes the exchange of data, the explanation of methodologies adopted, the dissemination and storage of quality information and ensuring the security of statistical institutes’ data, said Director General of the National Institute of Statistics (INS), Hédi Saidi.

Tunisia began the upgrading of the INS in February 2016 through the reinforcement of its technical resources, skills and infrastructure and technology and has adopted this technique in the foreign trade sector. The process made carried out, in collaboration with Italy and France, in the framework of a twinning programme, he said on the sidelines of a training session on SDMX held from September 10 to 14 in Tunis.

In this regard, 5 INS staff members take part in this training session, in order to improve the methodologies and the quality of information and practices of the Institute and to be in tune with the statistical institutions of the advanced countries.

He said the INS is one of the first African institutes in terms of adoption of international methodologies and standards in this field as well as the application of international recommendations for data collection, processing and dissemination.

Head of the Statistics Division at the African Union (AU) Commission, Leila Ben Ali Kraiem pointed out that this training workshop organized by this commission, the INS and the Statistics Division of the United Nations, aims to enhance the capacity of member countries to use new data and metadata methodologies adapted to new international recommendations.

This training workshop will focus on trade data, following the adoption by African Heads of State of the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), in March, creating the need to adopt a new methodology harmonising trade figures and producing more reliable data.

This first session brings together 28 member states meeting certain criteria for the production of statistics, while the next training session scheduled for 2019 will be enlarged to include 55 States including those which produce no statistical data, she said.

The AU needs to harmonize statistical data for the purposes of their publications, including the statistical yearbook, to facilitate the development of programmes and projects between the Union’s member states and to help policy makers make decisions based on accurate and reliable data, she noted.