The current data revolution sweeping across Africa has placed a renewed responsibility on Statistics SA and its implementing partners to address, through the ISIbalo Capacity Building Programme, several issues that remain challenges in Africa and in South Africa. These include:
(i) A growing and renewed demand for better statistics placing renewed pressure on the statistical community for better data, more innovative statistical research to better inform development interventions. The statistical community has responded to the growing demand for better indicators in a variety of ways. The successful initiatives have been demand driven with a clear link to policy work.
(ii) That as a number of related disciplines explore the need to turn research into action towards developing policy programmes and interventions, within the framework of the current African legacy of promoting and strengthening statistical capacity in the African continent, space needs to be provided for a number of scholarly and scientific research activities to promote broader African and South African participation in intellectual debates and knowledge sharing and reputable publications;
(iii) In view of the dearth of research in statistics education, ISIbalo recognizes the poor linkages between official statistics, its production, processes and relevant policy interventions and frameworks and the foundation laid in education to produce the relevant calibre of statisticians and their teachers. ISIbalo therefore provides a platform for statistical research into action to support the learning and teaching of mathematics and statistics in schools and to provide a platform for cross-pollination of ideas, sharing of experience and development of critical mass of knowledge in statistics education, and its innovations.
(iv) The demographic profile of Africa’s statistical community is dominated by older predominantly men. Little room has been made for the intellectual participation of young statisticians and women in statistics. No clearly defined plans exist to hand the baton of leadership over to young statisticians as the custodians of information and demand needed for Africa’s development agenda.