Economists want accurate data for development planning

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung'u. [File, Standard]

Economists have emphasised the importance of accurate data to support development planning and help Africa recover from current economic shocks.

A meeting held in Nairobi highlighted the work of econometric experts and researchers in providing statistics for policy makers.

The meeting was organised by the African Econometric Society and the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), with participants including academics, the diplomatic community and special advisors at the presidential and Cabinet levels.

Among the speakers were National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung'u and AERC Executive Director Théophile Azomahou.

Econometrics quantifies economic phenomena using economic theory, mathematics and statistical inference, transforming theoretical economic models into practical economic tools for policymaking. 

“The need for adequate economists, statisticians and econometricians, who are dependable and available on a timely basis is widespread regionally and internationally," said Prof Ndung’u.

In his keynote speech, he cited the dissatisfaction that technocrats continue to experience as a result of faulty data and urged policymakers to work together to fix the issue.

"In many of our African countries, national accounts statistics and monetary statistics are usually in arrears. And as a policymaker, I know how frustrating it is to work with scanty or stale data and evidence," he said.

AERC aims to play a key role in advancing the role of econometry to boost economic resilience. 

Prof Azomahou said research plays an important role in economic development.

"While AERC will continue strengthening the capacity of researchers and graduate students in Africa, the consortium will gradually change its face towards knowledge generation in economics and policy impact and advocacy," he said.

"I am happy that this week prefigures the future of AERC: global knowledge, excellence by putting our feet into those of these giants and being ambitious. AERC wants to dream big. Therefore, this hosting could not have been organised at a better time.”

The president of the econometric society Rosa Matzkin noted the need to advance well-crafted economic proposals.

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