unctad.org | ECOWAS export meeting on the continental free trade area (CFTA), trade in goods and trade in services modalities, Accra, Ghana, 16-18 May, 2017
ECOWAS export meeting on the continental free trade area (CFTA), trade in goods and trade in services modalities, Accra, Ghana, 16-18 May, 2017
26 May 2017

​Bojan Nastav, associate statistician at Statistics and Information at United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), attended the ECOWAS experts meeting on Continental free trade agreement (CFTA) in Accra for session on trade in services, which took place on Tuesday, 16 May 2017.



Bojan Nastav, associate statistician at Statistics and Information at United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) delivered a presentation at the ECOWAS experts meeting on Continental free trade agreement (CFTA), briefly outlining the work of DSIB with regards to trade in services, features and availability of data, metadata, reports and other relevant information at UNCTAD Stat portal.

Presentation centred on current status and development in the past years with respect to trade in services (total or by main service categories) in the ECOWAS region and Africa as a whole. General trends show that ECOWAS as a subregion of Africa, and Africa as a part of grouping "developing economies", do not diverge significantly from the latter group. Trade in services is increasing, although part of the growth can also be attributed to better statistical coverage.

On average, African economies exhibit a deficit in trade in services, especially economies relying on commodities exports (such as oil). On the other hand, economies driven by services, such as tourism, have a surplus in trade in services. Trade in services seems to be more resilient to economic growth than trade in goods.

Bojan Nastav at ECOWAS expert meeting in Ghana 
Bojan Nastav, associate statistician at Statistics and Information at UNCTAD
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Having proper and reliable statistics in trade in services is of utmost importance in setting the legal and administrative framework and modalities for its trade under the proposed CFTA. To that end, UNCTAD is supporting the process not only with making statistics publicly available, but also with capacity building. An on-line learning tool on trade in services within the UNCTAD's Train for Trade aimed to train national statisticians in the field of trade in services statistics is available. Specific project with WAEMU (UEMOA) to strengthen statistics on international trade in services is a joint collaboration between DSIB and Statistical Commission of WAEMU. It aims to design and build an IT system for trade in services data collection and compilation, involving the design of a harmonized set of questionnaires covering trade in services, and required statistical and IT capacity building. The project is to run until 2019 with anticipated spill over effects and results being applicable to other regions as well.

DSIB is continuously supporting economies in their quest to enhanced statistical systems, usage and understanding of trade in services data. Several other trainings are already envisaged (such as the SDG measurement and monitoring in Tanzania in June 2017), as is also further support to CFTA Negotiation Forum in early June 2017 in Niger.



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Charlie Hebdo