Making Forgotten Firm Data Available for Research in Swaziland

This project aims to bring a firm-level dataset collected by the Central Statistical Office (CSO) in Swaziland to the broader research domain, to standardize the data series over time and provide documentation to allow for the use of this data by a larger community of researchers.

As part of its remit, the Central Statistical Office (CSO) in Swaziland routinely collects data at the firm-level. However, this data remains an under-explored source of information, save for some cursory descriptive statistics. This is often due to a number of reasons, including that the CSO has not internalized the value of such information, confidentiality issues and the fact that the bulk of these records is still not in electronic form.

This project is a continuation of data collection and digitization from Swaziland, where the researcher has established a considerable amount of trust with the authorities. The aim is to digitise annual data beyond 2003 and the quarterly data, which consider dimensions of the panel that are rarely captured by statistical agencies. In addition to making the dataset and documentation of variables available, lessons learnt from this experience will be used to attempt to obtain similar datasets in other African countries.

Since one of the biggest hurdles to research in LICs is the lack of high-quality data, efforts like this are of particular relevance and importance to the academic and policy worlds. Removing these hurdles is the first step towards the execution of high-quality research that may provide important policy recommendations.