Building capacity to help Africa trade better

UNCTAD launches its 2016 Handbook of Statistics


UNCTAD launches its 2016 Handbook of Statistics

UNCTAD launches its 2016 Handbook of Statistics
Photo credit: UNCTAD

The Handbook includes a wealth of data for analysis of international trade, investment, or development.

Presented in English and French, the annual Handbook provides users – policymakers, researchers, academics, government officials, journalists, and others – with access to cross-comparable data sets.

“By supporting policy analysis, this resource will help policy makers to implement better and more effective policies,” Steve MacFeely, UNCTAD’s Head of Statistics, said.

“With this Handbook, UNCTAD offers trade data that are largely based on final official figures, and which provide a greater level of detail than any other dataset on trade,” he added.

As with previous issues, the Handbook covers international merchandise trade, international trade in services, commodities, international finance, and GDP and population.

According to the Handbook the value of global merchandise trade fell 13% from $19 trillion in 2014 to $16.6 trillion in 2015, making 2015 only the second year since 2000 in which merchandise trade declined.

The value of trade in services also decreased, falling 6% over the same period to $4.8 trillion in 2015.

The data indicate that a weak recovery after the 2009 global financial crisis has ended. The Handbook also notes the widening trade deficit of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in Africa.

Also available, UNCTADstat is a rich online database detailing key economic statistics by region and country, including indicators on international trade, economic trends, foreign direct investment, external financial resources, population and labour force, information economy and maritime transport is also available.

UNCTAD publishes country profiles which provide a summary overview of data for each county.


The UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics provides a collection of statistics and indicators relevant to the analysis of international trade, investment and development. Reliable statistical information is indispensable for formulating sound policies and recommendations that may commit countries for many years as they strive to integrate into the world economy and improve the living standards of their citizens. Whether it is for research, consultation or technical cooperation, UNCTAD needs reliable and internationally comparable trade, financial and macroeconomic data, covering several decades and as many countries as possible.

In addition to facilitating the work of the secretariat’s economists, the Handbook provides all other users – policymakers, research specialists, academics, officials from national governments or international organizations, journalists, executive managers, members of non-governmental organizations – with access to cross-comparable sets of data. The Handbook presents a consolidated, yet wide-ranging overview of the statistical series available at UNCTAD.

Unlike the Handbook, which captures statistics at one point of time, UNCTADstat is continuously updated and enhanced, thus providing users with the latest available data. Consequently, the figures from the Handbook may not always correspond to UNCTADstat.

Download: UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics 2016 (PDF,  5.03 MB)


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