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IDB, Ecuador sign $17 million to assist census and to improve targeting of social investments

SANTIAGO, Chile - Inter-American Development Bank President Enrique V. Iglesias and Ecuador Finance Minister Jorge Gallardo Zavala today signed documents for two loans totaling $17 million to support the national census and to strengthen the capacity of the government to target social investments to help the poor.

Support for the Census

A $12.5 million IDB loan will ensure that the country has the human and technological resources to complete the 2001 census of both population and housing.

The financing supports not only census taking, but also pre-census and post-census activities, administration, the promotion of civic participation, and the training of 172,000 persons, including 154,000 census takers.

Investments will be made in modern census technology, map updating, data processing, and dissemination of census results.

At the same time, the project will develop an Integrated Household Survey System to produce timely and reliable data on living conditions, income and household expenditures, and a system of short-term indicators will be strengthened to achieve greater accuracy in such sectors as prices, wages, construction and other data. The National Statistics and Censuses Institute will be strengthened.

The Belgian Fund is also granting $135,000 to strengthen the National Statistics System.

Targeting social programs

The census program will be coordinated with a related project, supported by a $4.5 million IDB loan, to establish objective and transparent data to identify and select beneficiaries of social programs.

The system will enable the Ecuadoran government to target social expenditure to the country's poorest families.

The resources will enable institutions in charge of carrying out social programs gain indispensable information for programming their activities, improving interagency coordination and control.

The data collection component will finance gathering information in approximately 1.6 million households, 640,000 of them urban and 960,000 rural.

After the project is carried out, the country will have a database containing the social profile of all families requiring some social assistance support, permitting a better and more efficient allocation of scarce resources.

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