Background Document

I. Background and rationale

The Committee of Directors-General of African National Statistical Offices (CoDG) was established by the African Union (AU) 2006 Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance (CAMEF). As mandated, the CoDG meets annually under the aegis of the African Union Commission (AUC) to discuss statistical development issues in Africa.  Topics reported to CAMEF include implementation progress of the African Charter on Statistics and the Strategy for the Harmonization of Statistics in Africa (SHaSA). CoDG members comprise Directors General of National Statistics Offices (NSOs), while Heads of Statistics Training Centers, Regional and Panafrican Statistics Organizations and partners also attend.

The Statistical Commission for Africa (StatCom-Africa) was established in 2005 by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Conference of Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.  StatCom-Africa acts within the United Nations policies and procedures framework and subject to the general supervision of the ECA Conference of Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development[1].  StatCom-Africa members are composed of African countries represented by heads of National Statistical Offices (NSOs). It is also a forum where the African Symposium on Statistical Development (ASSD), the Forum on Statistical Development in Africa (FASDEV), and other initiatives report on their progress. StatCom-Africa meets on a biennial basis.

The main difference between these two intergovernmental bodies is the reporting mechanisms of AUC and ECA to their governing bodies. Whilst CoDG reports to the AU Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance and subsequently to the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, StatCom-Africa reports to the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development of ECA. As the constituencies of the CoDG and StatCom-Africa are similar, namely NSO Directors-General, from 2008, they have convened in joint sessions as the Joint Annual Meetings of the AU Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance and Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development of ECA (hereafter referred to as Joint Annual Meetings of AU-ECA Ministers).

To reduce the number of continental level statistical fora and streamline the two intergovernmental statistical processes, the Joint Annual Meetings of AU-ECA Ministers suggested that the CoDG and StatCom-Africa should merge’ at a par with the United Nations Statistical Commission, to meet annually.  In response to this request, the Seventh meeting of CoDG, held from 5 to 7 December 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa, recommended that it hold a joint session with StatCom-Africa, commencing in 2014. The session was named the Joint Session of the AU Committee of Directors General of National Statistics Offices (CoDG) and ECA Statistical Commission for Africa (StatCom-Africa) – hereafter referred to as Joint Session.

In parallel with the Joint Session will be the inaugural meeting of the United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management for Africa (UN-GGIM: Africa). 

At its July 2011 substantive session, ECOSOC considered the report of the Secretary General (E/2011/89) and adopted a resolution to create the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (2011/24).  Over the last three years, regional organizations for Asia – Pacific, Americas, Europe, and ArabStates have been established to deal with relevant regional issues and support GGIM development.  This leaves Africa as the only populated area not covered by a regional UN-GGIM body, particularly after CODIST-Geo was disbanded in 2013.

The correlation between geospatial information and statistics is strong, as evidenced at the UN Global Forum on the Integration of Statistical and Geospatial Information in New York, 4-5 August 2014, and hence the parallel meeting with STAT-Com. 

The two meetings will share the opening and closing sessions as well as one plenary session, proposed to be on the topic of the 2020 round of census.

 II.           Objectives        

The Joint Session of CoDG and StatCom-Africa contributes in a more integrated manner to policy progress of statistics and statistical activities in Africa. The Joint Session considers issues of concern in national and continental statistical development, methodological issues, coordination and integration of the African Statistical System, support of technical cooperation activities in statistics and organizational matters.  It shall provide strategic direction to relevant ECA and AUC efforts on African statistics and statistical development.

UN-GGIM: Africa aims to provide a leading role in setting the development of African geospatial information agenda and to promote its use to address key local, national and continental challenges, whilst also contributing to the global level.  It provides a forum to liaise and coordinate among Member States, and between MemberStates and international organizations.

III.          First Joint Session CoDG and StatCom-Africa

The First Joint Session is being prepared by the AUC Statistics Division and the ECA African Centre for Statistics, in collaboration with the African Development Bank Statistics Department. It will be held from 8 to 12 December 2014 in Tunis, Tunisia with a theme of: “Strengthening the production of agricultural statistics in Africa for better monitoring and evaluation of CAADP”. 

 IV.         Format of the Joint Session

For operational reasons, and to enable the Joint Session to discharge its responsibilities in an effective, coordinated and focused manner, the meeting is organized in plenary and Break-out sessions. To that effect, specialized technical groups have been instituted on a number of domains.

The Joint Session will also include the inaugural UN-GGIM:Africa meeting.    UN-GGIM:Africa is proposed to be a regional UN-GGIM subset to coordinate African GGIM activities.  UN-GGIM:Africa will propose formal establishment of the body to replace CODIST-Geo and decide upon the main challenges and issues pertaining to geospatial information in Africa.  Additionally, it will examine the global movement of integrating geospatial technology into national statistical offices.  The correlation between geospatial information and statistics is strong and globally acknowledged as necessary.

Aside from the plenary and specialized technical Groups sessions, a series of meetings are planned in conjunction with the meeting including: the Forum on Statistical Development in Africa (FASDEV); an Africa Regional Integration Index Meeting; the African Reference Frame (AfRef) Meeting; an Experts Consultation Meeting on Renewable Energy Statistics; a seminar on “Scaling up Natural Capital Accounting for Industrialization and Sustainable Development in Africa”; an Expert group meeting (EGM) on the use of mobile devices for data collection; and a Meeting on Agricultural Statistics (in the framework of the Action Plan for Africa of the Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics, in collaboration with AfDB and FAO).

V.          Who can participate?

The official country delegation to the Joint Session of CoDG/StatCom-Africa shall normally be led by the head of the National Statistics office.

Similarly, the official country delegation to UN-GGIM: Africa shall normally be led by the national mapping agency head or appropriate agency responsible for geospatial data production and custody, such as national spatial data infrastructure representatives, national cadastral, cartographic or land survey services.

Observers from national, regional and international organization, IGOs, NGOs, the academia and research institutions, the private sector and related industries are also invited to attend.  Observers attend all sessions, except those designated private, and participate in discussions, but may not vote on any issues.  

VI.         How to participate?

Note: Formal invitations will be sent through the usual channels: Member States invitations will be channelled through the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and existing embassies in Addis Ababa. Copies of invitations to governments will be forwarded to the national agencies and other focal points responsible for statistics and GGIM respectively. Observers will be invited directly by SD/AUC and ACS/ECA. 

Participation can be made in various ways:

  •  Contact your relevant National agency to be included in the country delegation;
  •  Contact the Secretariat at the address below to be considered for invitation as an observer.

Proposals from parties interested in organizing workshops on relevant themes, and/or  sponsoring workshop participants are welcome. 

Contact Information

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Dossina Yeo

Acting Head of Statistics Division,

Economic Affairs Department

African Union Commission

Tel : (251) - 115 182651 / 115 51 77 00

Fax: (251) 11 551 78 44


Mr. Jose Awong ALENE

Statistician, Statistics Division

Economic Affairs Department

African Union Commission

Tel: (251) 115 51 77 00

Fax: (251) 115 51 78 44


Mr. KUTOATI Adjewoda Koami

Database administrator, Statistics Division,Economic Affairs Department

African Union Commission

Tel: (251) 1151182675

Fax: (251) 115 51 78 44


Mr. Joseph Tinfissi Ilboudo

Chief, Statistical Development Section

African Centre for Statistics (ACS)

UN Economic Commission for Africa

Tel: (251) 115 44 55 33

Fax: (251) 115 51 03 89


Mr. Rob Gray

Chief, Geoinformation & Sectoral Statistics, African Centre for Statistics (ACS)

UN Economic Commission for Africa

Tel : (251) 115 44 3712

Fax: (251) 115 51 03 89


Mr. Oumar Sarr

Statistician, African Centre for Statistics (ACS)

UN Economic Commission for Africa

Tel: (251) 115 443614

Fax: (251) 115 51 03 89

E-Mail :

[1] Since its inception, ECA has established subsidiary bodies to fulfill its mandate in different thematic areas, including Statistics. In this connection, the Conference of African Statisticians was established in 1959; the Joint Conference of Planners, Statisticians, and Demographers including a Committee on Statistics resulting from a merger of the Conference of African Statisticians, the Conference of African Planners, and the Conference of African Demographers in 1980; the Joint Conference of Planners, Statisticians, Population and Information Specialists in 1994 when Information specialists joined the previous body; and it was renamed as the Committee on Development Information in 1997.  It became known as StatCom-Africa in 2005.