Forum on African Statistical Development convenes ahead of main gathering of experts

Tunis, 08 December, 2014 (ECA) - The sixth Forum on African Statistical Development (FASDEV VI) opened in Tunisia Monday, as part of various preparatory events leading to this week’s meetings of the Statistical Commission for Africa (StatCom-Africa) and Committee of Directors General (CoDG) of National Statistical Offices, which will be held jointly for the first time from 10-12 December in the capital of Tunisia.

In his welcome remarks, Mr. Hedi Saidi Statistics Director-General in Tunisia  expressed confidence that the result of the recommendations will help to improve governance of statistics mechanisms and management of statistical data.

Mr. Chukwudozie Ezigbalike, Acting Director of the African Centre for Statistics at the Economic Commission for Africa lauded the Forum for achieving some encouraging results, citing systems for monitoring and evaluation of statistical developments in the continent.

“There are still significant challenges and statistical systems must be reinforced if we want to follow the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals in Africa,” he said, and added: “I hope this forum will greatly inform your discussion and subsequent proposals on how best to foster strong regional and international partnerships to improve statistical development in Africa." 

Oliver J.M Chinganya from the African Development Bank elaborated on efforts to improve data collection using national agricultural extension systems for weekly collection of food price data using mobile phones and tablets. He also elaborated on how the dissemination of price data to farmers in distant markets has improved decision-making in the production and marketing of their produce.

For his part, Yeo Dossina, Acting Head of the Statistics Division at the African Union Commission highlighted the progress made in developing the African Integration Index and also  emphasized the need to work hand in hand towards the implementation of the African Charter on Statistics.

He informed the meeting that the African statistics training institute to be launched by the African Union Commission aims to produce quality statistics based on the political decisions of the African Union demonstrate the AU’s resolve to strengthen statistics as it is the beacon of our development.

For his part, PARIS21 representative called for more investment and funding for statistics in Africa, which he noted is low compared to total development funding.

Parallel sessions include the Continental Steering Committee (CSC) of the African Project on the Implementation of the 2008 SNA, a meeting on the African Geodetic Reference Framework (AFREF), and another on the use of mobile technology for data collection. 

FASDEV-VI’s aims are summarized in its theme, “Fostering coordination, collaboration and partnerships in support of statistical development in Africa”. It provides a forum for development partners to explore synergies among their respective interventions and make their support to countries more efficient and effective in the framework of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. 

Specifically, it allows them to review the status of partners’ support for statistics in Africa, including new financing modalities; to share information and discuss the challenges of financing statistical development post-2015; to review the funding requirements for implementing national strategies for the development of statistics in African countries, including the level of domestic funding; to explore ways of improving the coordination and efficiency of support for countries; to explore the role of partners in fostering South-South cooperation, and to explore new financing sources for statistical capacity-building in Africa.

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