The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and its partners today launched the Data for Decisions (D4D) Fund in Bern, Switzerland. The fund is expected to provide about $ 33 million over five years for targeted capacity development (CD) in the form of technical assistance and training.
The CD beneficiaries will be low- and lower middle-income countries (LLMICs), as they tackle challenges from a demanding international data environment. This includes the demand for more and better data by governments, the private sector and other stakeholders to inform their decision-making; the proactive detection of economic risks and vulnerabilities; the need to report on more than 230 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators; the emergence of statistical measurement problems related to the digital economy; and a global push toward more transparency and accountability.
The D4D Fund’s founding partners comprise China, the European Commission, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, and Switzerland, with several other country representatives attending the inaugural Steering Committee as observers.
Partners expressed strong support for the D4D Fund’s objectives and relevance. The daunting challenges for statistical agencies, particularly in LLMICs, require targeted support and the transfer of knowledge and expertise. Partners emphasized the importance of beneficiary countries complementing the assistance by the international community by providing adequate human, budgetary, and technical resources to better equip statistical offices and other data-producing agencies with the tools and skills to implement CD advice. Partners welcomed the D4D Fund’s country-led approach to CD and strong focus on achieving results, with a view to ensuring a sustained impact on countries’ ability to produce more and better data.
Ms. Rosmarie Schlup, the D4D Fund’s first Chairperson and Head of Macroeconomic Support at the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO, summarized: “Partners were unified in their vision to assist the developing world with CD in macroeconomic statistics that can have an immediate bearing on public and private decision-making. We see the D4D Fund as part of the global architecture to support the modernization of national statistical systems in a complex global environment.”
Mr. Louis Marc Ducharme, IMF Chief Statistician and Data Officer, stated: “It is evident that developing countries face an enormous task in compiling and disseminating essential data for policy-making and SDG reporting, juggling new user demands, and keeping track of the rapid pace of statistical innovation and methodological advancement. It is our hope that the D4D Fund can make a contribution in this regard, by joining forces with partners and offering well-targeted statistical CD in areas of need.”
The D4D Fund is based on a needs assessment that considered demand from countries and their absorptive capacity, as well as identified data gaps and data quality concerns and their policy relevance. Its development is embedded in the IMF’s new Overarching Strategy on Data and Statistics at the Fund in the Digital Age that was discussed at the IMF’s Executive Board on March 9, 2018.
The D4D Fund is organized around four modules, with its largest module offering CD in policy-relevant areas to address data gaps and quality issues in real and external sector statistics, as well as on fiscal and debt reporting. Another module will fund the development and roll-out of a full curriculum of online training courses in eight statistical topical areas, with a view to enhancing the global reach of IMF statistics training and amplifying the CD provided by the IMF and other providers. The D4D Fund also helps sustain and expand high-quality statistics on financial inclusion through the IMF's Financial Access Survey, with an envisaged expansion of the database to new areas, such as gender-disaggregated data. Finally, it includes a module to develop advice to countries on streamlining, standardizing and automating their data management practices and infrastructure.
Strengthening the capacity of economic institutions, such as central banks and finance ministries, results in more effective policies and greater economic stability and inclusive growth. This is why countries work with the IMF through hands-on technical assistance and training focused on critical economic issues. Global thematic funds support many of the IMF’s CD activities in specialized thematic areas that complement the work of the IMF’s regional capacity development centers.