Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 14 December 2020 (ECA) - The Forum on Statistical Development in Africa (FASDev) continues to play a critical role in contributing to partnership building for statistical development on the continent for informed decision-making, says Oliver Chinganya, Director of the African Statistics Centre at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
FASDev was initiated in 2004 by the ECA, the African Development Bank, the Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (Paris21) and the World Bank.
Its main aim was to have an overview of statistical activities, including technical assistance and training in Africa; set up a permanent system for monitoring statistical development in Africa; and to strengthen modalities for cooperation, with a view to leveraging each partner’s comparative advantage.
“These objectives remain valid today after 16 years of FASDev’s existence,” said Mr. Chinganya, adding over the years FASDev has established linkages three areas - producers of official statistics; statistics training centres, and partners supporting statistical development resulting in an improvement in quality of data and statistics, and increased capacity building and training of young statisticians.
For instance, with the support of partners such as the FAO, the training curriculum in agricultural statistics has been harmonized across the main statistical training centres in Africa.
“With the setting in of the COVID-19 crisis, which has ravaged the human fiber and our core assets, these efforts should be maintained and guided towards modernization and transformation of national statistical systems in Africa,” said Mr. Chinganya.
Mr. Chinganya emphasized the importance of innovation and modernization of national statistical systems which led to the creation of the African group on transformation and modernization of official statistics. The group is composed of ten Heads of national statistical offices and its main task is to strategically guide and coordinate the work on modernization and transformation of the continent’s national statistical systems.
Mr. Chinganya said current trends show that national statistical systems may lack resources to modernize and transform official statistics, more so now as resources are being diverted towards fighting COVID-19.
“There is therefore an urgent need for strong commitment of partners to increase funding for data and statistics and to support and guide countries toward modernization and transformation of national statistical systems in Africa,” he said.
Poor annual estimates are more likely this year due to COVID-19 challenges.
“It therefore imperative that partners support countries to produce reliable estimates for the year 2020 in various areas to continue informing decision processes so as to improve people’s lives,” the ECA Director said.
He said the ECA is planning to revive the Young Professional Programme, noting young statisticians have the potential to modernize statistical systems if given key roles in data science activities.
The Young Statistician Programme seeks to build the youth’s statistical research capacity; hone their skills in statistical development leadership and prepare them for future data demands for sustainable development outcomes.
The theme of the Forum is “Harnessing the impact of the COVID-19 crisis to accelerate the transformation and modernization of national statistical systems in Africa”.
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