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Post-2015 Consensus: Data for Development Viewpoint, Melamed

Melamed (ODI) raises two key points: first that a lot of money is already being spent on data collection systems, although arguably not enough, and second that the bulk of the necessary money would come from domestic sources rather than external funding. Bridging the funding gap to bring national and international statistical systems up to acceptable levels was estimated to cost $140-160 million a year in additional resources in 2004. Even if we assume the figure has doubled in the last decade, it would not be huge by the standards of international aid spending. But the big question is still whether such spending is worthwhile, but there is little hard evidence on this. One way to work out the value of statistics is to look at current government spending. The UK Office of National Statistics has an annual budget equivalent to 0.2% of GDP – the same as for Norway – but this is just a fraction of the total government spend on data gathering and analysis. Spending in developing countries is patchy and at least partly funded by international aid. Overall, more attention needs to be paid to the benefits side of the equation if the case for greater spending on data is to be made effectively.