AFRICAN governments have been called upon to rethink national statistical development strategies and make them fully embedded in the national development plans for proper funding of statistical activities.
The call was given here yesterday by Statistician General, Dr Albina Chuwa as Chair of the Bureau of StatCom Africa during the virtual opening of the 7th Statistical Commission of Africa (StatCom).
Dr Chuwa insisted on the need for African countries to secure proper funding of statistical activities, which are strongly linked to development programmes.
Dr Chuwa underscored the need for the production of accurate data and effective use of statistics in evidence-based policymaking.
"We need numbers to measure our developmental processes. To see the inclusive growth, we are talking about in Agenda 2030 for sustainable development and the Africa we want in Agenda 2063, then it's crucial that we produce the numbers to inform our policymaking and decisions," she said.
Dr Chuwa used the platform to insist on the need for all African governments to ensure the Population and Housing Census is given the maximum priority it deserves.
In the country, Dr Chuwa said the government is committed to conducting its 6th round of Population and Housing Census in August 2022.
"At the continent the following undertakes have to be accomplished as Population and Housing Censuses remain the main comprehensive data source," she insisted.
She added that four years to the end of the current cycle (2020 Round of Population Census), the participation of Africa region has been very weak and low in comparison to the previous cycle (2010 Round of Population Census).
Despite the current context, she advised, efforts should be deployed to conduct planned population and housing census in particular for countries that have not conducted this operation for a long time.
"We need to have actual numbers in Africa; On behalf of my colleagues in Africa, Let me request all African Governments to ensure Population and Housing Census is given the maximum priority it deserves' ' observed Dr Chuwa.
She said, the Covid-19 outbreak appeals to the exploration of data sources other than the traditional data sources. Therefore, the African national statistical system must seek to extent to which non-government sectors including private sectors can join to fill the current data gaps.
StatCom7 opened virtually on Tuesday with a call from Ethiopia's President Sahle-Work Zewde for Africa to urgently transform and modernize its national statistical systems, especially in light of the continuing novel coronavirus pandemic.
In remarks to officially open the meeting, Zewde said African governments need to provide more support and budgets for modernizing national statistical offices for evidence-based planning and decision making.
"The transformation of national statistical systems in Africa is more important now than ever before as we fight against the pandemic and as we look to build stronger and better systems.
Therefore, access to technology by national statistical systems must be promoted in all African countries in view of accelerating the production and use of data and statistics as public good," she said.
On her part, ECA Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe, agreed with Zewde on the need to modernize Africa's statistical systems.
Digitalizing Africa's national statistical systems, she said, is crucial if the continent is to move forward from the multifaceted impacts of Covid-19.