Interview:  Butti Ahmed Mohammed bin Butti Al Qubaisi

What is the role of a comprehensive statistics resource in the context of a modern economy, and how can it further boost investor confidence?

BUTTI AHMED MOHAMMED BIN BUTTI AL QUBAISI: Official statistical information provides a sound basis for development in the fields of economics, demographics, society and the environment. It is a key element in the information system of a society, and is of benefit to the government, the economy and the wider public. Environmental and technological changes have created a need for information, which in turn influences changes in the strategic priorities, policies, systems and processes of statistical agencies.

In order to encourage balanced and sustainable economic growth, decision makers require various statistical products to develop comprehensive economic plans. For instance, Abu Dhabi’s GDP at current prices increased by 4.8% in 2013, mainly due to increases in non-oil activities. Development of non-oil activities is important for the government’s objective of achieving a modern and diversified economy.

SCAD therefore collects and disseminates data that shows the value added to economic growth for each economic activity. These indicators show that the value added by non-oil activities has experienced strong and sustained growth since 2005, with total annual increases at constant prices of between 5% and 9%. In this way we are able to contribute to the development efforts within Abu Dhabi by organising a solid statistical system through the provision of relevant and reliable official statistics that adhere to international standards of quality and will serve policy makers, the business community and the general public.

To what extent is SCAD exploring new methods of data integration and harmonisation?

AL QUBAISI: SCAD is in the process of implementing the E-Statistics Project, which is going to be the basis for data integration and harmonisation. The project will be the foundation of a comprehensive statistical system within Abu Dhabi. The electronic interconnection will facilitate the exchange of data within a shorter amount of time and increase the quality of our statistical products. This strategy is going to improve the flow of information and develop high-quality administrative records within government entities to serve the statistical needs of our customers. The harmonisation of data will also be improved by the establishment of standards to be applied across the statistical system of Abu Dhabi, such as standard definitions, classifications and metadata. These will be essential to ensure that the data integration process of electronic statistics combines comparable data.

Innovation in dissemination is the motivating factor behind our various initiatives. This is largely driven by the changing needs of our audience. That is, people require instant statistics and need to be able to interact with and manipulate the data. They need to be able to use their smartphones and tablets to access the data, see the data graphically and have it assist them when making real-life decisions.

How will SCAD’s online foreign trade statistics applications serve as a benchmark for interactive data sourcing, research and decision making?

AL QUBAISI: The online foreign trade applications allow users to easily visualise, explore and customise up-to-date foreign trade statistics. The applications include thematic maps, country reports and a table builder. These tools are particularly useful in identifying significant trade partners by individual commodities, quickly producing summaries of specific countries and allowing the user to customise tables based on personal requirements. All these tools provide timely foreign trade information that can support businesses in their market research and decision-making processes. These applications have greatly improved user access to foreign trade data and reflect the centre’s commitment to giving users access to high-quality, timely statistical indicators and the flexibility to access information based on specific requirements.