African states urged to modernise national statistical systems

Oliver Chinganya

Mr Oliver Chinganya, Director of the African Centre for Statistics.

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • This will ensure that statistics are produced efficiently and are more accurate and accessible to users.
  • Agenda 2063 is Africa's blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future.

African states have been challenged to tap technology to strengthen and improve their national statistical capacities.

According to Oliver Chinganya, Director of the African Centre for Statistics (ACS) at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), this will ensure that statistics are produced efficiently and are more accurate and accessible to users.

Mr Chiganya said modernising statistical agencies should include identifying new ways of collecting data through technology to make it easier for people and businesses to find and use the information.

“There are countries that are already using modern technology to great benefit and there is need to adapt to modern technologies of collecting data,” he said, while citing Rwanda’s National Institute of Statistics which has moved to modernize it data collection tools.

Mr Chiganya said the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the vulnerability of African national statistical systems, as some national statistics agency were unable to collect relevant data on time, pointing to the need to transform and modernize national statistical systems on the continent.

He said high-quality statistics, will help African countries make evidence-based decision-making, and monitor and evaluate progress made towards the realization of international, regional and national development goals, plans and priorities, including those contained in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Agenda 2063.

Global powerhouse

Agenda 2063 is Africa's blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future while Agenda 2030 is a set of Sustainable Development Goals devised in 2015 at the United Nations General Assembly.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) said earlier it is mulling over new methods of generating and collecting data beyond surveys. Under the law, the KNBS is mandated with collecting, analysing, storing and releasing economic surveys among other statistics.

KNBS releases the country’s official economic data on everything from jobs to trade and the reports are closely watched by markets and investors.

Mr Chiganya said the ECA is working with dozens of African countries to help them transform and modernize their national statistical systems so that they can produce and use quality statistics for sound decisions, policies and plans that improve the well-being of their citizens.

“We are supporting the integration of civil registration and identity management in 10 countries including Burkina Faso, Malawi, Lesotho, Angola, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, DRC, Somalia, Eswatini and Guinea Bissau,” he said.

The ECA is also supporting the development of digital censuses and deploying IT applications that improve the quality, timeliness and efficiency of data production in 6 countries including Nigeria, Zambia, Mauritius, Togo, Liberia and Seychelles.

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