ECA launches Price Watch Centre for Africa

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The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has launched a first-of-its-kind continental tool that offers a unique view of price variations in African countries, regional economic communities and at continental level.
During the virtual launch on 11 August 2020, ECA Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe, noted that the role of national statistics offices and national revenue authorities in ensuring that this platform has timely, accurate & up-to-date data will be crucial.
She cautioned that the “lack of price data to enable us monitor, analyse and manage economies through informed policy decisions has often led to civil unrests” because when prices of things like food, oil, and energy go up, “people take to the streets.”
The initiative intends, therefore, to bring the prices and exchange rates of all African countries into one platform that’s readily accessible to citizens, decision makers and other stakeholders. The platform will involve monthly, quarterly and annual analyses of inflation.
The launch was chaired by Ghana’s Vice President, Mahamudu Bawumia, who applauded ECA for the initiative, stating “this one-stop-shop for finding data” will go a long way to “increase ECA’s relevance in Africa.”
“We need data on price movements to gauge how changes in consumer prices alone may be affecting the trends in income distribution, poverty levels and inequalities, including especially among those who live on retirement incomes,” said Bawumia.
He pointed out that “as we open the doors to continental free trade, price level data will enable across-country comparisons and understanding of regional markets and the competitiveness of producers across Africa.”