The International Comparison Program (ICP) is a global statistical initiative aimed at generating purchasing power parity (PPP) estimates that facilitate cross-country comparisons of price levels, and economic aggregates in real terms. The AfDB has collaborated with the World Bank to launch the current ICP round which aims at maximizing the synergy between the ICP and national statistics programs. For the first time since its inception in 1970, an African institution, the AfDB, has taken the lead and is coordinating the program in the Africa region – called ICP-Africa.
ICP-Africa has expanded its mandate to include other objectives such as strengthening national statistical capacity; and assisting the Bank’s Regional Member Countries (RMCs) in fully implementing the 1993 System of National Accounts (SNA93).
One of the specific objectives of the statistics capacity building initiative is to provide a reliable information base for national, regional and global policy-making as well as support and monitor progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, poverty reduction strategies, NEPAD and Results–based Management and Evaluation Systems for Development Effectiveness indicators.
In line with the global strategy, the African regional framework aims at integrating poverty-specific PPPs into the mainstream of ICP work.
Forty-nine participating countries were visited between December 2002 and September 2003. For each country, a report presenting salient features of the national statistics system was produced. Following recommendations of the Yaoundé seminar, namely; the Yaoundé Declaration on Statistics Development in Africa, it has become urgent to facilitate the monitoring of statistics development, and to post the updated findings of the evaluation and all underlying material on a special AfDB Internet website which will be linked to national and international websites on African statistics systems and data. The ICP data collection was carried out in ICP participating countries in 2003/2004. The assessments were conducted with a view to making conclusions and recommendations to serve ICP as well as serving medium/long term objectives of enhancing statistics system towards making ICP activities an integral part of its routine operations.