In the case of national statistics, metadata (‘data about data’) are comprehensive sets of information that document  a country’s data compilation and dissemination practices, and how they relate to established international standards.

Meatadata should also cover plans for improvement. Benchmarking the compilation and dissemination procedures on international best practices allows for international comparability. Regular updating and publication of national metadata is a requirement for participation in the frameworks for data standards (GDDS and SDDS) maintained by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). While the IMF undertakes checks of submissions for comprehensiveness and international comparability, the responsibility for the accuracy of the metadata, including timely updates, and for the resulting economic and financial data rests with the subscriber.

Metadata for all participating countries are posted on the IMF’s Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board (DSBB) and must be certified by participants on a quarterly basis. In the case of Botswana, metadata were first posted on the DSBB in August 2002 and have been updated on an annual basis.