World Bank Group (WBG) approved US$22 million in financing to three Caribbean countries, including St Vincent and the Grenadines, on Tuesday, May 17.
St Vincent and the Grenadines received $8 million of the US$22 million to strengthen its statistical systems and data production, to better inform policymaking.
The World Bank Group said limited availability of data hinders efforts to monitor key indicators and design effective policies to address the development challenges St Vincent and the Grenadines are facing.
According to the WBG, SVG is considered data deprived, meaning that no more than one poverty estimate is available every ten years. The strength of their statistical systems is relatively low compared to the Latin America and Caribbean regional average.
“The use of data for development planning and decision-making cannot be overemphasized,” said Lilia Burunciuc, Director for Caribbean Countries. “We want to strengthen national institutions to produce better and accessible statistics, and foster data-driven decision-making by policymakers for better development outcomes.”
The project approved today aims to strengthen statistical systems and to increase the availability of data, enabling more in-depth analyses to respond to policy questions. At the national level, it will strengthen domestic institutions through statistical modernization and capacity building. It also aims to enhance data collection, analysis, and timely dissemination. This includes the population census, agricultural census, living conditions surveys, and labour market surveys.
The project will support the operationalization of the WBG’s Gender Strategy by increasing the availability of gender-disaggregated data, helping to provide decision-makers with better information about the nature and scale of gender inequalities, which can be used to inform policies to close gender gaps and monitor gender outcomes.
Other beneficiary countries include Grenada (US$8 million) and Saint Lucia (US$8 million). The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission received US$5 million to improve the production and dissemination of statistical data in the region.
WBG said given the shared challenges and small size of the countries, the project also possesses a strong regional component to leverage economies of scale. It will support the OECS Commission’s mandate for regional integration by strengthening its Regional Statistical System.
This includes enhancing regional coordination and data harmonization through the establishment of the OECS Regional Data Governance Council, stimulating innovations suitable for the small island developing economies in the Eastern Caribbean, increasing the provision of technical assistance and regional training, and supporting regional analytical products and dissemination.