Media Release: Youth struggles 40 years o

13 June 2016

ISIbalo Conference of African Young Statisticians to build statistical capacity on the continent

As South Africa marks the 40th Anniversary of Youth Uprisings, Stats SA is hosting youth from across the African continent during the 5th ISIbalo Young African Statistics Conference which is currently underway in Pretoria. The five-day conference will equip attendees, among them South African students and high school learners, with critical skills in statistical science and research. This will go a long way in reversing the impact of Verwoed’s legacy of denying black youth access to mathematics education which today impact on the skills capacity of statistics and related fields within South Africa.


Africa’s young statisticians will interrogate contemporary data skills challenges that impact on measuring development, review the latest data methodologies, and address Africa’s capacity to embrace the emerging big data and data revolution for Sustainable Development Goals and the National Development Plan. The youth uprisings in 1976 were motivated by the pursuit of access to equal education and 40 years on youth skills challenges continue to persist in societies across Africa. South Africa has in its strive to develop youth, ratified the African Youth Charter which was adopted by the Assembly of the African Union in 2009.


The ISIbalo African Young Statisticians Programme (IYASP) was borne out of the identified dearth of Africa’s contribution to the international statistical discourse, witnessed when South Africa hosted the 57th Session of the International Statistical Institute (ISI) in 2009. The ISI, a prestigious international professional body of statisticians, hosted for the first time on African soil seven years ago, confronted the limited participation and contribution by African statistical scientists. Among other issues that were discomforting at the session was the limited contribution to research and scholarly knowledge, as well as the demographics of the African statistical community. These are some of the challenges that the IYASP began to address through the biennial conferences of 2010, 2012, 2014 and now in 2016.


Increasing statistical capacity in the region will enable Africa to effectively measure progress and report accurately on the 230 indicators towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: Agenda 2030, agreed to by the UN Statistics Commission in its pursuit of sustainable development in the post-2015 era.


“The 2016 ISIbalo conference will equip attendees with skills in research methodology, data sources and tools for demographic analysis. The young statisticians will also be offered training through presentations on various issues including population, data development, policy and communication of research for policy development, and new methods in data dissemination for policy use,” said Statistician-General Dr Pali Lehohla.


A dedicated programme on data analysis and dissemination for young statisticians which will be one of the outcomes of the conference comes at an opportune moment in South Africa as Stats SA prepares to launch the Community Survey (CS 2016) results.


Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Hon. Jeff Radebe, lauded the ISIbalo African Young Statisticians Programme for ensuring that young people are equipped with essential skills in statistical sciences. “We need a revolution not only in national data systems but also in ensuring that the next generation of population and data experts that are attending this conference are better equipped to close analysis and dissemination gaps and promote better use of statistical data,” says Minister Radebe.



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Issued by Statistics South Africa