Addis Ababa, 18 November 2021 - The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) celebrated the African Statistics Day with a recognition for young African statisticians of their potential to influence the statistical agenda in the region.
The African Statistics Day is an annual event celebrated on 18 November to raise public awareness on the importance of statistics in all aspects of social and economic life.
This year’s theme was, “Modernizing National Statistical Systems to support sociocultural development in Africa”. It is in tandem with the African Union theme of the year 2021 “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want” and calls for strengthening the production of Arts, Culture and Heritage Statistics for Sustainable Development and Building the Africa we Want.
ECA’s Director, Africa Centre for Statistics, Oliver Chinganya said the COVID-19 crisis has also come with opportunities, some of which have led to national statistical offices across the continent to accelerate the transformation and modernization of the data value chain.
“The statistical community has globally recognized that producers of official statistics need to transform and modernize national statistical systems to adequately respond to all data demands arising from 2030 Agenda, Agenda 2063 including National Development Plans and frameworks," said Mr Chinganya.
"Modernized National Statistical Systems would inevitably support data required to inform sociocultural development in Africa, especially in light of the sustainable development agenda.”
While referring to a recent ECA study, the ECA director said there was poor data availability on the SDG indicators related to culture and tourism in African countries. He noted that the theme “Modernizing National Statistical Systems to support sociocultural development for this year’s African Statistics Day is very timely as it will address the existing data gaps to inform creational sectors. Globally, these sectors provide nearly thirty million jobs worldwide and employ more young people (aged 15−29) than any other sector, representing up to 10% of GDP in some countries".
In a webinar with the young African statisticians held on the margins of AfricanStatsDay2021, Edem Kludza Associate Statistician, African Centre for Statistics ECA said modernizing and transforming National Statistical Systems need innovative and strategic ways of thinking and doing things. “This is where you should come in as young statisticians. The webinar is intended to build on the potential of the youth and their problem-solving abilities in contributing to finding solutions to the challenges faced by the African Statistical System,” said Mr Kludza adding that young Statisticians are expected to drive the change and the process, and this includes in other domains as well beyond statistics.
“Your involvement in statistical affairs on the continent is of pivotal importance and of mutual benefits. ECA is determined to work with other partners including the ISI capacity committee to make this happens.”
In July, ECA launched a Young Statistician Programme - Takwimu programme - designed for Young African Statisticians and data practitioners from all background.
This has culminated into a need to develop a 4-year strategy for the Takwimu. A consultant is being recruited to develop a strategic plan. The strategy builds on the concept note and existing initiatives. The ultimate goal is to operationalize the Takwimu Programme, defining a 4-year roadmap, 2022-2025. The strategy will be presented to Africa Statistical (Commission StatCom) for endorsement before submitting to senior management of ECA.
In another event held as part of commemorating the African Statistics Day, the second Regional Thematic Seminar on System of National Accounts (SNA) Update Programme, Xiaoning Gong Chief, Economic Statistics and National Accounts Section said the main goals of ECA is to lead the African countries to compile relevant National Accounts and other statistics according to international standards. For this purpose, we need the support of all technical and financial partners as to consolidate the gains, but also to meet new challenges.
“The UN Statistical Commission has advised to adopt a user driven approach in releasing experimental statistics on new methodological developments by national statistical systems and thus adopted a more continuous update process for manuals on national accounts and other domains of the system of economic statistics,” said Mr Gong
“Our goal is to lead the African States to develop, improve the quality, availability, consistency and harmonization of statistics. We need the support of all technical and financial partners but also a strong commitment from the authorities at the country level.”
Mr Gong thanked all the partners involved to develop National Accounts and other statistics at country level.
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