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Africa needs data revolution to development


The success of the sustainable development agenda calls for  “data revolution’’ to support Africa’s developmental endeavours at all levels, Ethiopian President, Mulatu Teshome, has said.
 
The president made the remarks at the opening of the 6th meeting of Statistical Commission for Africa (StatCom-Africa-VI) in Addis Ababa on Tuesday.
 
Teshome said quality statistical information was crucial to providing basis for design and implementation of policies at national, regional, continental and international levels.
 
The president added that accurate data would also be used to monitor and to evaluate impacts of policies on economic growth and social improvements.
 
The Ethiopian leader said “data revolution promotes technology and innovation at all levels of statistical processes such as collection, processing, analysis and dissemination.
 
“National statistical systems are the main sources of such data.”
 
Teshome stressed the need to reposition, adapt and strengthen statistical production processes to meet widening  and evolving needs of data users.
 
He said it was imperative for the continent to focus on “the use of technology in this new era of data revolution to incorporate geospatial data revolution.”
 
He added that Ethiopia was planning to conduct its 4th population and housing census this year, the country’s first-ever fully digital census.
 
South Africa’s Statistician-General, Risenga Maluleke, emphasised the need for Africa to work together in building statistical capacity to support the continent’s developmental aspirations.
 
He said technology and the lack of funding could hamper such aspirations but added that such
could not be permanent though may have long lasting effects.
 
“It’s only when we work together that victory would be certain,” said Maluleke, who also underlined the need to harmonise statistics on the continent stressed.
 
UN Statistics Division Director, Stefan Schweinfest, said Africa continent needs data champions to advocate the importance of statistics for informed policy-making.
 
“Having reliable, accurate and accessible data will help us meet the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development,” he said, noting that political leadership is crucial in the whole process.
 
African Development Bank (AfDB) Statistics Director, Charles Lufumpa said working together as the African statistical community had been become necessary.
 
Lufumpa said Africa should be able to meet the ever-increasing demand for data needed to track progress on the sustainable development goals, and Africa’s 50-year development plan, dubbed Agenda 2063.
 
Urging greater focus on economic statistics, the director said lack of political will by some countries to allocate adequate resources toward regular censuses and surveys risks diminishing the reliability of national accounts data over time.
 

The four-day meeting with a theme: “Enhancing the capacity of the National Statistical Systems to support policies for Africa’s economic diversification and industrialisation’’ will ends on Thursday.