|The Courier N° 145 - May - June 1994- Dossier : European Union: the Way forward - Country Report: Ethiopia (EC Courier, 1994, 104 p.)|
A new source of information for development cooperation
Five ACP countries have been analysed in depth in a collaborative effort between the European Union and one of its Member States. The profiles, published Jointly by the EU's statistical office, Eurostat, and its German counterpart, the Statistisches Bundesamt (STBA), are designed to meet the increasing demand for statistical information about Europe's Lomonvention partners.
The profiles are joint country/ region surveys of Togo, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Cameroon, and have been appearing in a series launched in 1990. At a press conference to mark the publication of the Togo volume, the Director-General of Eurostat, Yves Franchet, said: 'In the developing world, statistics play an increasingly important role as countries move towards more democratic, multiparty systems, making it essential for them - and the European Community side of the partnership - to monitor the impact of changing economic, financial and social policies. Our statistical information programmes have been set up to help the developing countries establish better statistical information systems, and this new series of publications is a contribution towards meeting that need.'
Each publication contains some 170 pages, consisting of 40% data, 30% graphics and 30% text, and comes out in separate French, English and German editions. There are chapters on population, health, education, agriculture, industry, national accounts, public finance, employment and prices, backed up by the latest available figures. What gives each report its European flavour, however, is the chapters on development aid, foreign trade, private foreign investment, foreign debt, and economic systems and structural adjustment. These are seen from an EU viewpoint and include a summary of aid commitments, with breakdowns of the Member States' multilateral and bilateral aid programmes and trade flows between the EU and the region concerned. These chapters also discuss the role of the private sector in direct foreign investment, the indebtedness of regions or countries in terms of structure, servicing and trends, and the effects of structural adjustment on their economic systems. Tables and graphs illustrate the latest trends and policies and set them in their historical context.
For 1994 and 1995, a new, regional approach has been adopted, for both philosophical and practical reasons. Geopolitical shifts and economic alignments taking place at present would, only recently, have seemed highly improbable. In the ACP network, the last 20 years have seen the emergence of integrated regional units, a trend which is being reflected in the publications programme. The new policy also enables Eurostat to cover more countries in its half-yearly joint productions with the STBA. Thus 1994 will see reports on the Caricom region in June and the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania) in December, and in 1995 there will be profiles of the Pacific region and the CGA franc zone - thus covering the major ACP regionas in the space of two years. The reporting emphasis will be both on regional analysis and on a study of the individual countries.
Each report generally requires five or six months of reserach and writing, and the range of contributors is evidence of the collaborative spirit underlying the enterprise. DGs I and VIII of the Commission, its translation department and its publications office, all make their contribution, while the EIB and the development section of the European Parliament are consulted too. The STBA compiles the chapters which do not concern the European Union, with help from outside experts in the affairs of the region concerned. These have included the Overseas Development Institute in London, ORSTOM in Paris and the IFO Research Institute in Munich. Though some primary sources are used, most of the data is supplied by the statistical services of the OECD, the World Bank, Eurostat, the IMF and the ILO, with coordination by Eurostat.
The country/region reports alos supply valuable information on the potential for development in the territories they cover. In Mr Franchet's words, the profiles 'provide an important development tool that can be used to publicise their new economic policies, including those related to encouraging private foreign investment in areas of interest to EU investors.'
Copies of the profiles may be obtained from the Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, L-2985 Luxembourg. Further information about the reports is available from the Statistical Office of the European Communities, Unit A5: Relations with ACP and other developing countries, Jean Monnet Building, L-2920 Luxembourg.