African Statisticians Deliberating in Addis

Addis Ababa October 04/2018 African statisticians have gathered in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia for the sixth statistical commission for Africa (statcom-Africa-VI).

Statistics bureau heads, representatives of national mapping agencies, NGOs and research institutes are attending the four-day symposium being underway in Addis Ababa.

Africa Center for Statistics (ACS) Director at ECA, Oliver Chinganya told ENA that “this meeting is very critical for African statisticians and basically for the whole continent.”

“The discussion with group of people that produce data which is used for policy decisions in their country is very critical,” he said noting that reliable statistical data is very critical for policy decisions.

The whole continent needs enhanced national statistical system to attain timely, accessible and reliable data to achieve continental and global development agendas.

Chinganya said “whatever (data) comes out of national statistical offices reflects performance of the country and becomes critical because if they do not give correct information, it means even the policies will not be correct because the given information is not correct.”

Noting that there are countries, which try to run national statistics agencies through foreign funding, Chinganya appreciated the experience in Ethiopia, saying that it allows the agency to enhance its capacity.

About 70 percent of the budget of the Ethiopian Central Statistical Agency is allocated by the government, which he said is exemplary for other countries.

Chinganya said that innovation and technology should be encouraged to enhance the way that data is mobilized and interpreted.

Professor of Formal Philosophy at Copenhagen University and Director of the Center for Information and Bubble Studies (CIBS) Vincent Hendericks, told ENA that African countries have an emerging democracy that needs reliable information.

Hendericks said that “democracies are extremely sensitive to information, miss-information and fake news.”

Statisticians have to make sure that policy makers have supplied with factual data and information in order to introduce proper policies and make precise political decisions, he added.

He also said that civic societies should play a crucial role in making sure that decision makers are supplied with verified statistical data.

The meeting that gathered statisticians, representatives of mapping agencies and NGOs as well as research institutes drawn from African countries is in session since Monday.