Statistics for Socioeconomic Development Policy in Equatorial Guinea

Statistics for Socioeconomic Development Policy in Equatorial Guinea

John R. Stewart, Jr. December 29, 2008
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Only Somalia ranks below Equatorial Guinea in the World Bank’s Statistical Capacity Indicators. International agencies report diverse and sometimes contradictory statistics on the country. The last national census, upon which many statistical indicators must be framed, is not convincing. Although the data are unreliable, there is general agreement that the socioeconomic situation of the population is poor and may even be getting worse despite rapid growth in national income. Social development must begin with the selection of the critical issues, and proceed through the formulation, implementation and evaluation of policies. Each phase requires credible, objective statistics. Efforts to improve the limited statistical base for Equatorial Guinea should take into account the unique situation of this society, which has a legacy of extreme underdevelopment and isolation, and a reign of terror that was arguably more intense than those in Cambodia or Rwanda. Added to this mix is the large current injection of petrodollars that is bringing rapid changes to a society that is not experienced in policy analysis and decision making. Equatorial Guinea might benefit from study of the progress in statistical capacity that has been made in its neighbor countries of Cameroon and Sao Tome and Principe. The World Bank
Statistical Capacity Indicators for these two countries have shown significant improvements in recent years.

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