Tunis, 31 October 2018 (ECA) – North African countries must take part in the data revolution and acquire the means to follow up and implement the Sustainable Development Objectives (SDGs) and Agenda 2063 on the legislative, technical, human resource and equipment level, said, Wednesday, participants in the Expert Group Meeting on “Data Revolution in North Africa: Using Data in Support of Structural Transformation; an event held by the ECA Office for North Africa on 30-31 October 2018, on the margins of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts of the ECA Office for North Africa.
Member States’ Representatives of Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia, statisticians, representatives of regional & sub-regional institutions and UN agencies were among the participants in this important event.
“The meeting is taking place within the framework of ECA’s support to increase the capacity of member countries to produce, publish and disseminate, in real time, complete and reliable statistics. This will empower decision makers with strategic tools and real assets for strong growth and structural transformation”, said Lilia Hachem Naas, Director of the ECA Office for North Africa.
By making a detailed examination of the North African data system, experts sought to identify countries’ shared challenges and suggest action plans that will enable them to seize the opportunities related to the data revolution. This entails transforming their statistical ecosystems to seize the opportunities granted by current technological evolutions and respond to the numerous needs of economic, social and environmental statistics related to the SDG and Agenda 2063 implementation and monitoring in Africa.
As part of the Economic Commission for Africa’s ambition to support structural transformation and evidence-based policies across the region, the Economic Commission for Africa has played an active role in the modernization of the region’s statistical systems in the last few years.
In North Africa, ECA’s support has included the modernization of national account systems in support to the implementation of Mauritania’s National Accounts System towards a new base year (SNA 2008). ECA’s work in this area also covered the use of new technologies (tablets, applications) for data collection in Egypt and Tunisia as well as statistical capacity building in areas such as foreign trade, employment, the informal sector, fisheries or livestock in Mauritania.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the North African representatives acknowledged that data evolution is a challenge for their current operating mode. Thus, the need to adapt national legislations, hire suitable human resources and determine the indicators to be provided depending on the prioritized objectives is essential. Participants also agreed on the need to strengthen South-South cooperation in areas such as information exchange and share best practices.