Skip to main content

Applying Unified Classification for Economic Activities in Arab Countries

The Economic Statistics section at ESCWA organized a regional workshop on implementation of the international standard industrial classification for all economic activities (ISIC rev.4) for Arab countries, together with the Arab Institute for Training and Statistical Research (AITRS), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), in Amman, Jordan, from 28 September to 1 October 2014.

Representatives from government entities of 13 Arab countries attended the workshop, from national statistics offices, ministries of trade and industry, in addition to participation from Jordan Chamber of Industry. The workshop aimed at contributing to the development of economic statistics in the Arab region and building national capacities through a tailored training on the newly produced implementation guide of ISIC rev.4 and its technical aspects.
Participants were trained on: managing the implementation process, developing a national version of ISIC, developing correspondence tables with earlier versions, back-casting of previous data upon a classification change, and application of a revised classification in statistical programs especially with regards to sampling and weight issues. Participants were also trained on business registers recoding upon a classification change, the tools, and maintenance and quality assurance so that registers can be used as a main source of data instead of costly field surveys.

Presentations on national experiences shed light on the status quo, the prevailing gaps and difficulties facing the implementation processes in these countries in addition to the various needs for future development. Ensuing recommendations stressed the need to facilitate implementation of ISIC, to enhance national coordination among government entities, to speed up the production of a common national classification to be used by all entities, and to introduce the needed and supportive legislations.