Statement on the 11th Africa Symposium on Statistical Development
Pali J. Lehohla: South African Statistician-General and ASSD Chairman
I cannot wait to be part of, and meet with you at the next majestic gathering of the African Statistical Community and our statistical development partners; the 11th Africa Symposium on Statistical Development (ASSD) to be held in Libreville, Gabon from 23 to 25 November 2015. The theme for this symposium is “Promoting use Of Information Technology solutions in improving CRVS in Africa” – a befitting theme, indeed, for a time when data revolution is on the lips of any well-meaning development practitioner, statistician and policy-maker.
The event will be hosted back-to-back with the Committee of Directors-General of National Statistics Offices (CoDG)/ Statistics Commission for Africa (StatCom-Africa) by the Gabonese statistics agency, the Direction Generale de la Statistique (DGS) in the Ministry of Economy and Investment Promotion led by the Director-General, Mr Francis-Thierry Tiwinot. Preparatory work with the support of the ASSD Secretariat, the African Union Commission and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and other partners is in full swing.
This joint event will take place at a critical point when Africa has clocked so many achievements in its pursuit of producing quality statistics and placing statistics at the centre of policy and decision-making in all its endeavours to live up to the ‘Africa-rising’ mantra and making the 21st century its own time to shine. On the statistical front, through the ASSD; we have seen unprecedented success in the undertaking of the 2010 round of population and housing censuses where only two countries were not able to carry out censuses. Working closely with the Civil Registration Authorities under the strategic guidance of the Ministers responsible for Civil Registration we have conceived and birthed a rigorous programme to transform and improve civil registration and vital statistics systems and practices in Africa which has been the core focus of the last four instalments of the ASSD. Tremendous progress has been made in this regard and we are now poised to change gears and identify the next statistical challenge to be tackled in the next five symposia.
The relevance of Africa in the global statistical scene has been bolstered by its respect for the United Nations Principles of Official Statistics which informed the development of the African Charter on Statistics which has been adopted by the African Heads of State and Governments. To ensure Africa produced the kind of statistics that is relevant for monitoring its political agenda, the Strategy for Harmonisation of Statistics (SHaSA) was also adopted by Heads of State and Governments. The SHaSA has now been costed and aligned to the global Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for which indicators have been defined, having regard for Agenda 2063.
The African Statistics Community has never been so united. The 11th ASSD/CoDG/StatCom Africa meeting will see this unity moving a notch further in the right direction.
Gabon, here we come!