Addis Ababa, 4 March 2022 (ECA) - National statistical systems in Africa have been advised to embrace non-traditional sources of data and the contributions of non-state actors in the collection and interpretation of data for practical uses in their countries.
This conclusion was made by the roundtable panel on data and statistics at the African Regional Forum for Sustainable Development (ARFSD). Discussions centred on boosting the generation and use of data and statistics to build forward better and accelerate delivery of sustainable development. The session brought together participants from both public and private sectors across Africa.
Yusuf Murangwa, Director-General of Rwanda’s National Institute of Statistics (NIS), noted that national statistical systems will need to move from traditional sources such as population censuses as a result of the complexities of the world today. “We need the statistics quickly … We also cannot afford to lose track of our development objectives because of the pandemic. National statistics systems, to be able to operate even in such complex situations, must leverage technology and big data,” Mr. Murangwa explained.
Alex Osei Opare Nyanteh, Commercial Director of Jospong ICT Group, said his organization is already leveraging technologies to provide sustainable services in waste management and recycling. This process generates data about what people are consuming in Ghana. “This unofficial data became critical in the pandemic. In many cases, it was the only source of any evidence of some of the vulnerabilities COVID-19 brought to the people” he added.
The panellists agreed that for national statistical data to resemble the reality on the ground, unofficial data from the private sector and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) must be integrated with data from national institutions.
Bernard Sabiti, Senior Partnerships Manager at Development Initiatives, made a call for public institutions to cooperate with each other. “There have been times in Uganda when official statistics do not represent the complete picture because there is no connection between the institutions invested in the sector. The private sector and CSOs must also partner with the public sector,” he emphasized.
This ARFRSD is an annual multi-stakeholder platform organized by the ECA and the host government, this year, Rwanda, in collaboration with the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank and other entities of the United Nations Systems. This year’s main event will be held from March 3 to March 5, 2022 on the theme ‘Building forward better: A green, inclusive and resilient Africa poised to achieve the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.’
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