Antananarivo, 10 March 2016 (ECA). Under the leadership of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), a delegation from the Regional Group of Support for the Africa Programme on Accelerated Improvement of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (APAI-CRVS) led by Mr. Dimitri Sanga, Regional Group Coordinator of the said programme for French speaking countries and Director of the Sub-regional Office for West Africa of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa visited Antananarivo, Madagascar.
The visit which was a follow-up to an official request made by the Malagasy Government for support for the implementation of the APAI-CRVS programme, marked the launching of the evaluation of the civil registration system of Madagascar. The ceremony took place in the presence of the Minister for the Interior and Decentralisation, Mr. Solonandrasana Mahafaly Olivier; head of the delegation of the Regional Group, Mr. Dimitri Sanga; representatives of members of the Regional Group; Mr. Abdelkrim Bendjebbour, Resident Representative of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Madagascar; UNICEF Representative in Madagascar, Elke Wisch; members of the government of Madagascar, and Ambassadors and representatives of the diplomatic corps based in Antananarivo.
The rate of registration of births of children below 5 years was estimated at 83 per cent, and for those from 5 to 17 years at 88 per cent. However, the low rate of registration of births for the portion of the population above 18 years, the near absence of registration of deaths, marriages and divorce and of statistics in the registration system as well as the weak inter-linkages among the structures involved justifies the need to improve civil registration and vital statistics system of the country.
In this regard, Mr. Solonandrasana Mahafaly Olivier, Minister for the Interior and Decentralisation affirmed that, “The civil registration system should serve the population without exception and also support development efforts. The guiding principles for their operations should be: a mandating, continuity, durability, universality and also respect. A total evaluation of the system will enable the establishment of a reform programme for improvement.”
On his part, Mr. Dimitri Sanga, Regional Group Coordinator of the APAI-CRVS programme for French speaking countries emphazised that, “Given the importance of civil registration, Africa has decided to unite its efforts to launch a continental Programme for the improvement of the said systems under the auspices and the support of Pan-African institutions that are ECA, AfDB and the African Union Commission (AUC) as well as a number of funds and programmes of the United Nations system. Since their first meeting held in 2000 in Addis Ababa under the auspices of the AUC, African Ministers responsible for civil registration have committed to undertaking an in-depth evaluation of their systems, within the aim to ensuring improvement, and with the support of technical and financial partners. Mr. Sanga further added that, “This evaluation is the first important step towards the improvement of the systems ”.
The delegation led by Mr. Sanga was received audience by the President of the Republic of Madagascar, His Excellency Hery Rajaonarimampianina who commended the leadership of the ECA for its responsiveness to the request of the Government of Madagascar. He assured the delegation of his personal commitment and that of his Government to bring to a successful conclusion the evaluation process and to work towards the implementation of any future improvement plan relating to it. He also affirmed that, “The discussions on the theme were interesting, and, I have followed since yesterday, the development of this project in Madagascar, with which I am totally in agreement and will continue to support for its success”.
The Head of Government, Jean Ravelonarivo continued along the same lines during the audience accorded to the delegation, by reiterating his willingness and commitment to support efforts towards achieving a registration rate of 100 per cent in Madagascar.
Firm commitments and promises of support were also received from the President of the Senate and high level representatives of the National Assembly.
As part of the mission, the delegation visited the registry offices in both the urban and sub-urban areas. The delegation also met with development partners based in Madagascar. It then held working and capacity-building sessions on the tools and guidelines for undertaking evaluations with members of the National Coordinating Committee for the civil registration system which had been set up by Government.
The national evaluation of civil registration systems in Madagascar is expected to be concluded within a maximum period of six months. The results will serve as the basis for determining the priorities in the formulation of programmes and budget plans, in order to improve the system in Madagascar.