Yamoussoukro, 12 February 2015 (AUC-ECA) – African Ministers responsible for civil registration and vital statistics converged on Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire from 12 to 13 February 2015 in their third Conference to promote the optimal use of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) on the continent. This third CRVS ministerial conference dwelt on the right to identity for each born African child with a focus on the theme“Promoting the use of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics in support of Good Governance in Africa”. The opening ceremony at the Fondation Houphouet-Boigny pour la Recherche et la Paix took placein the presence of the AU Commissioner for Economic Affairs, H.E. Anthony Maruping, the Minister of Interior Affairs and Security of Côte d’Ivoire, H.E Ahmed Bakayoko, the Ministers of Health and the fight against HIV-AIDS, H.E Raymonde Godou Koffi, representatives from the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), partner organisations as well as the local and administrative authorities of the city of Yamoussoukro.
Addressing participants on behalf of Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Commissioner Maruping, expressed his gratitude to the Government of Côte d’Ivoire for hosting this edition of the CRVS Conference which he termed “very critical for the continent in the context of the Agenda 2063 and the post- 2015 development agenda.” He congratulated the host country for winning the African Cup of Nations at the just ended football championship tournament in Equatorial Guinea. He recalled that the vision of the AU under Agenda 2063 is to primarily ensure the welfare of its citizens by alleviating poverty and improving the living condition of each African. In that regards, he added, Africa should consider civil registration and vital statistics as a priority so as to materialise the new paradigm of a rapid, inclusive and resilient development on the continent. He also used the occasion to congratulate the host country for lifting the trophy of the just ended Africa Cup of nations tournament in Equatorial Guinea.
Commissioner Maruping noted that African governments should then be committed to accelerating the implementation of the different policies and strategies adopted with respect to the CRVS systems. “If there is no dependable and comprehensive CRVS on the ground, there will be no meticulous implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda …There will be no Africa Arising,” stated the Commissioner. He underlined some key challenges that need to be addressed with a view to establishing a strong CRVS system which will be a catalyst of good governance in Africa including the mainstreaming of Information, Communication and Technologies (ICTs), the development of capacity and the question of financing such a system.
The Minister of Health of Cote d’Ivoire, on her part, underscored the necessity to embed statistics-gathering and processing within the health system in each African country as key to solving the problem of unregistered births and deaths which are very common in Africa. She urged all the African countries to institutionalise a free birth registration system.
Speaking on behalf of the Prime Minister of Cote d’Ivoire, the country’s Minister of Interior Affairs and Security, Mr Hamed Bakayoko, said civil registration helps to facilitate the integration of vulnerable classes of people who are threatened by the scandal of invisibility. “Their non registration implies their non existence before the law”, he sated. The Minister called on African governments to avoid the exclusion of some of their citizens through the establishment of viable and updated statistics systems.
“The Conference is the opportunity for a new path which will bring Africa to a unique identification system where we can get all the information on a person,” He concluded before inviting African governments to institutionalise the celebration of an African day for civil registration.
During the opening ceremony, it was announced that the Islamic Republic of Mauritania will host the 4th Conference of African Ministers responsible for CRVS scheduled for 2017. In this regard, the symbolic calabash on CRVS was officially handed to the Mauritanian CRVS Minister by his counterparts from the Republic of South Africa and Côte d’Ivoire.
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