UEMOA - Strengthening Statistics on International Trade-in-Services

The aim of this project is to improve the quality and harmonization of statistics on internationally trade in services (SITS) for countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) or Union économique et monétaire ouest-africaine (UEMOA): Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

The project, a collaboration between the statistics Branch in UNCTAD and the Centre Statistique de l’UEMOA, is formally titled 'Projet pour la mise en place des statistiques du commerce international des services' or Strengthening Statistics on Internationally Trade in Services.

This project is also supported by the Inter-Agency Task Force on International Trade Statistics (organized by UN Statistics Division). The task-force is particularly interested in any lessons learned and assessment of the scalability of the project.

The project will deliver a harmonized questionnaire and statistical IT system that is sufficiently comprehensive and flexible to provide Trade-in-Services that are fit for purpose, but also sufficiently simple that it can run on basic operating systems


The availability and quality of Trade-in-Services statistics in many developing countries and regions around the world is poor. As economies develop and their reliance on traded services increases, the paucity of services data is increasingly problematic for policy makers and trade negotiators.

By their very nature, Trade-in-Services statistics are difficult to compile. Less tangible and visible than merchandise trade, they are not captured by customs systems (and thus cannot be extracted from administrative systems) and cannot be derived from transport statistics. They are also conceptually difficult to understand.

The 'Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine' (UEMOA) has identified this paucity of data as a problem. Furthermore, in seeking to address the problem, they have identified the need to compile harmonized regional statistics that are compliant with international best practice (as defined by the Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services 2010).

SDG WheelLink to the SDGs:

Goal 9 Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

Target 9.a - Facilitate sustainable and resilient infrastructure development in developing countries through enhanced financial, technological and technical support to African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States.

Goal 17 Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

Target 17.18 - By 2020, enhance capacity-building support to developing countries, including for least developed countries and small island developing States, to increase significantly the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts.


UNCTAD is working with the Statistical Commission of UEMOA to develop a harmonized questionnaire and an IT system to process, clean, aggregate and disseminate national and regional Trade-in-Services statistics. This system will allow UEMOA member states to compile comparable sufficiently detailed Trade-in-Services statistics (including partner data) to address their policy/negotiation data requirements. As far as we are aware, this is a complex project is unique. As a consequence a number of other regions are participating as observers or watching developments closely, including, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

UNCTAD has a number of attributes that make us the obvious partner of choice. Firstly, UNCTAD has considerable statistical and analytical skills and knowledge in the field of international trade statistics (both merchandise and services). Furthermore UNCTAD has, through ASYCUDA, considerable experience in developing, building and maintaining statistical IT systems. UNCTAD, through Train-for-Trade, can also provide extensive complementary face-to-face and online capacity building and training services. Finally, UNCTAD statistics work closely with the World Trade Organisation, the International Trade Centre and the Statistics Division of the United Nations, to ensure the best expertise and knowledge is available and leveraged for this project.

Project Code



UNCTAD in cooperation with UEMOA Statistical Commission


West African Economic and Monetary Union - Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine (UEMOA)


  UEMOA and UEMOA member states: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte D'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo




$ 3,300,000