Addis Ababa — As part of its capacity building programme, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) of the United Nations Population Division, in partnership with the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP), recently trained senior national statistical officers from eight African countries on applying useful demographic methods for the evaluation and production of population estimates as well as demographic indicators in their respective countries.
This workshop took place at IDEP premises in Dakar, Senegal, from 26 to 30 September 2016.
The training, targeting eight Francophone countries; Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Mali, Niger and Togo; was delivered by a team of experts from DESA and all the participants were officials from their respective national statistical offices with experience on demographic and/or statistical issues.
One of the objectives of the training was to strengthen the capacities of the participants on methodological aspects.
DESA expert, François Pelletier, gave the participants a historical background of when statistical estimations started and how the use of statistics has evolved over the years.
"The estimations started in 1950 and the distributions of populations by age and sex are generated using the components method and available information on various demographic components, that is fecundity, mortality and migration, while ensuring the coherence with the "official" population estimates over time," he said.
"This way of proceeding ensures the coherence between various demographic and populations. According to the empirical data, adjustments are sometimes necessary."
Participants also discussed population estimates and demographic indicators.
"Even when they try to approximate national data, it is not always possible for them to reconcile official data provided from a time perspective. Sometimes, it is because data were revised and/or are not consistent over time, or simply because the trends fluctuated in 5-year intervals," said Mr. Pelletier.
The workshop was a good opportunity for participants to share their respective experience on the topic.
Overall, participants expressed their satisfaction with the content and the organization of the training workshop, giving great feedback through the training evaluation questionnaires.
They also showed interest in the next workshop planned by the same organizers from 28 November to 2 December at IDEP, on population projections as it will be a continuation of what they have learnt in the first training.