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Statcom-VI ends with member States being urged to prioritize statistical development in Africa

 The Sixth Meeting of the Statistical Commission for Africa (StatCom-Africa-VI) ended in Addis Ababa Thursday with delegates urging member States to allocate more resources to support the production, dissemination and use of statistics for the implementation of national development plans, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Africa’s 50-year development plan, Agenda 2063.

Participants, among them Heads of National Statistics Offices from 51 African countries, underscored that effective political leadership, national ownership and adequate resources were crucial for the continent to ensure the success of statistical transformation initiatives.

Member States were called on to find creative and innovative ways to overcome some of the key challenges faced by national statistical offices in their bid to establish statistical systems that function and serve the continent well.

The delegates urged development partners to help enhance the capacity of national statistical systems to continue to align with the growing demand for statistics in support of evolving national, regional and global development agendas.

African nations were also encouraged to mainstream geospatial information technologies as a basic framework for supporting statistical production and dissemination of statistical data.

“We urge the stakeholders on statistical development in Africa to work together to meet the increasing demand of data for all development agendas,” the delegates agreed, adding there was an urgent need for national statistical offices to improve their quality of administrative data.

This can be done through investing in civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) system and in disaggregating indicators for monitoring basic human rights to address inequalities.

On enhancing national statistical systems’ capacity to support policies for Africa’s economic diversification and industrialization, the meeting called on member States to collaborate in creative and innovative ways and create synergies across data ecosystems and forge partnerships among relevant stakeholders.

This would help countries overcome key challenges impeding the work of national statistical offices and help in the creation of an efficient and effective statistical system.

The meeting took note of the new strategic areas of the Economic Commission for Africa and endorsed its statistical programme. It urged the ECA to continue supporting member States in statistical capacity-building, working in close collaboration with the African Union Commission (ECA), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF).

In their recommendations, participants also urged member States to undertake the 2020 round of population and housing censuses to support the implementation of the SDG and 2063 agendas.

Member States were urged to mobilize resources for the census activities with development partners also being called on to support the process.

In her closing remarks at the end of the four-day meeting, Ms. Leila Ben Ali Kraiem, Manager for the Statistics Section at AUC, said her team and the AUC will continue to “work closely with the ECA, the AfDB and ACBF on different programmes aiming to support the production of quality, reliable and timely statistics on the continent.

AfDB’s Statistics Director, Mr. Charles Leyeka Lufumpa, assured participants the bank will continue to accompany member States on ‘this journey to ensure we enhance the capacity of our National Statistical Systems to support policies that promote Africa’s development”.

“We have to make sure that we implement the recommendations and resolutions that we have come up with following our successful deliberations,” he said.

For his part, Oliver Chinganya, Director of the African Centre for Statistics (ACS) at the ECA, saluted the delegates for putting much effort into their work in the last four days as they sought ways through which to mainstream ownership of new or updated methodologies that can enhance Member States’ statistical capacities.

“The overwhelming participation, attendance and engagement we have had throughout the meeting has been remarkable and I believe that this is something that we would want to take forward,” he said.

Statcom-Africa-VII will be held in Addis Ababa in 2020.

Representatives of national, sub-regional, regional and international organizations, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, academia, research institutions, and the private sector also attended the meeting.

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