Chairman’s Statement on the 12th ASSD

Dr Pali J. Lehohla-: Chairman, Africa Symposia on Statistical Development (ASSD)

The time has come again to gather as the African Statistical community and statistical development partners to shape the future of Africa’s development.

As we continue to recount our gains so far, having addressed the 2010 Round of Population and Housing Censuses’ (RPHCs) challenges during the first six Africa Symposia on Statistical Development (ASSDs), and the pertinent Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) challenges in the continent during the 7th to 11th ASSD, it is time to look at the continent’s economic statistics. Having focused on improving CRVS institutional and human infrastructure in Africa, standardisation of causes of death classification and statistics in Africa, promoting use of CRVS in support of advancing good governance in Africa, revolutionising censuses and CRVS towards Africa Agenda 2063 and promoting the use of information technology solutions in improving CRVS in Africa, it is now time for the ASSD vehicle to change gears to address national accounts topic.

The 12th ASSD, which marks yet another paradigm shift from CRVS to Economic Statistics, will be the first of the five ASSDs that will focus specifically on national accounts in the period 2016 to 2020, as resolved during the 11th ASSD held in Gabon in November 2015. ASSDs seek to ensure amongst other things the adoption and application of international statistical standards for harmonization of economic statistics in Africa, strengthening of basic economic statistics for the compilation of national accounts, optimisation and rationalisation of the production process of national accounts and economic statistics, timely dissemination and accessibility of economic statistics for policy formulation and decision-making as well as application of economic statistics and national accounts in support of sustainable development.

The production of economic statistics in Africa stems from a weak statistical capacity and infrastructure of countries in general. Challenges include, amongst others, lack of full institutional independence, inadequate capacity and infrastructure to regularly conduct basic surveys, low political engagement at the national level to produce quality and timely economic statistics that can be subsequently used in policy decision making. It is for these reasons that we have given the 12th ASSD a befitting theme of “Strengthening basic economic statistics for compilation of national accounts in Africa”.

As we open the new agenda of economics statistics, we dare not forget that the 2020 Round of Censuses just began and Lesotho was the first to conduct its 6th Census in April, ushering for Africa, the 2020 Round. May this be Africa’s Round as we emulate the 2010 Round. The CRVS on the other hand is on shaky ground and we should spare neither limb nor life to scale the challenges of defeating the scandal of invisibility.

To take the agenda of strengthening basic economic statistics forward, the 12th ASSD will bring together as participants Heads of African National Statistics Offices, Heads of Economic Statistics and National Accounts in national statistics offices, Central Banks, representatives from Ministries of Planning and Finance, Regional Economic Communities, Regional Organisations, Development
Partners, Statistical Training Centres, Research Institutions, Young African Statisticians, Host Country Representatives, sponsors and ASSD Secretariat.

This auspicious event will be hosted by the Government of Tunisia through the National Institute of Statistics (INS) led by the Director General, Mr Heidi Saidi. Preparatory work with the support of the ASSD Secretariat, the African Union Commission and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the host country and other partners is in full swing.

I therefore take this opportunity to invite all of you to participate in the 12th ASSD to be held in Tunis, Tunisia on 02 to 04 November 2016.

I am looking forward to see you all in Tunisia.