Demystify statistics

ECA/ 18 November 2015, Lusaka, Zambia - There is a lot of fear associated with statistics, says Zambia’s Vice President Inonge Wina.

In her opening speech at the Africa Statistics Day Commemoration in Lusaka, Zambia, Wina argued the Central Statistics Office to “demystify statistics so that people can appreciate the value and relevance of statistics in making better choices as individual and as a nation.”

Wina said stronger national statistical systems were prerequisite in generating sound, timely and relevant data necessary for guiding decisions, better development and policy making.  “Sound data is a weapon to fight poverty, it shows the picture of where society is - where the poor are, why they are poor and what interventions are needed” she argued. She reaffirmed her government’s commitment to building strong, statistical systems in Zambia and endorsed the use of modern information technology.

African Statistics Day is celebrated every year on 18th November to increase awareness on the importance of statistics social and economic development in Africa. It was initiated in 1990 by the Subsidiary Body of ECA; the Joint African Conference of Planners, Statisticians, and Demographers.

Meanwhile, ECA Southern Africa, Officer-in-Charge Sizo Mhlanga lauded the continent for coming a long way and has made remarkable strides in improving the statistical landscape of the continent. He said will continue to work to improve the statistics infrastructure on the continent. “ECA will continue to focus on data quality and enhancing the capacity of national statistical systems which is critical to Africa’s structural transformation”. He said the call for reliable and timely statistics has never been more potent for Africa if it should meet its development path as envisioned in Agenda2063 and the newly launched sustainable development goals.

Mhlanga called on the continent to embrace innovation and technology as efficient and cost effective mechanisms for producing and delivering high quality data. The theme for 2015 is better data for better lives; harnessing modern technology to enhance statistical systems. 

The colorful ceremony which included a Zambia Police brass band and a march past was attended by high level government officials, statisticians, media and other development partners.