Trade is an essential engine of growth and poverty reduction. Yet trade data suffers from poor quality and inconsistencies. There are several reasons for this: trade data is collected with little coordination between the reporting agencies and the central statistical offices, inadequate resources located to the data gathering agencies undermines archival process of good data, normal statistical errors of measurement and observation, and various complexities associated with international trade such as trade misinvoicing. This study explored the poor quality and inconsistencies in Zambian trade data which might render efforts at policy formulation to boost intra-regional trade and resolve issues of growth and poverty intractable. The study computed an index to depict the extent of trade misinvoicing and hence the quality of Zambia’s trade statistics in comparison with other African countries. The study documented the tendency to over-invoice exports and under-invoice imports. This is of great concern; particularly in the trade liberalisation era where the need for high quality trade data to inform constantly evolving regional and continental trade arrangements is more urgent than ever. Plausible interventions include, but are not limited to: increasing intra-country coordination between statistical and other data reporting agencies, increasing collaboration between local and partner country level data collection agencies, and encouraging open collaboration between data collection agencies and users. ___________________________________________________________________________
Mudenda, Dale; Bulawayo, Maio; and Ndulo, Manenga
"The Tragedy and Reliability of Zambian Trade Data,"
Zambia Social Science Journal: Vol. 8:
2, Article 2.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/zssj/vol8/iss2/2
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