• Services Statistics

    International trade in services statistics play a vital part in monitoring, analysing and projecting macroeconomic developments in individual SADC economies and the world economy.  Due to their intangible nature, measurement  of  trade in services flows is inherently more difficult than measurement of flows of trade in goods.  Although some services may be defined through their physical function – e.g., transport or hotel services – others are conceptually more abstract such as consultancy or education services. Unlike trade in goods, trade in services  does not involve a physical product crossing a customs border, and hence leaves no trace through accompanying documents. Obtaining the required information on services trade, once defined, is dependent on and limited by the extent of the common international understanding of concepts by statisticians and data providers.

    Most of the trade in services statistics available in SADC Member States rely on the information compiled through the National Accounts System which does not accurately differentiate services according to modes of supply and  uses a highly aggregated classification of  services sectors. The collection of the national statistics in many developing countries, where available, is often subject to a diverse understanding of the concepts and data provided.  

    Although there have been a number of initiatives by international organisations to develop international standards for trade in services statistics through harmonised practices, difficulties in measurement and comparability remain. For example, data on mode 4 is normally captured through remittance transactions, which may not necessarily separate persons employed in services sector from those employed in manufacturing sector and government services.  Other challenges include capturing of micro information, (e.g. tourist expenditure on public transport in a host country), difficulties in identifying self-employed services suppliers who are subject to GATS from those who are not, and the fact that not all countries capture information on foreign affiliates.

    In this regard, the WTO, OECD, UN, EU and IMF joined  efforts in developing a framework “Manual on Statistics of Trade in services” to meet the need for comparable and comprehensive statistics on trade in services. The manual is yet to be operationalized across countries, but at least it will provide a standard framework for collection and compilation of international trade in services data.



    To facilitate the collection and compilation of statistics on trade in services in the SADC region, the SADC Secretariat coordinated development of a common approach to the collection and compilation of such data. In 2014, a consultant finalised the development of template to be adopted in collection of trade in services statistics in the region. A 3day training workshop has been organised enhance member states understanding of the template. The workshop is scheduled for 10-12 February 2016 and will bring together representatives from central/reserve banks and national statistics offices. Below are the documents for the workshop. Access to these documents requires login.

    1.Draft Agenda EN FR PT

    2. SADC Template for Trade in Services Statistics EN FR PT

    3. National Stucture for Trade in Services Statatistics EN FR PT


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