African countries can take action to accelerate sustainable development if they plan better and invest in effective data and statistical systems, says Oliver Chinganya, Director of the Africa Center for Statistics (ACS) of the Economic Commission for Africa.
“Data is public good, the new oil, the gold that Africa must invest in to support its development,” Chinganya said on the sidelines of the 55th Session of the Committee of Experts meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The mission of the Africa Centre for Statistics is to enable national statistical systems in Africa to produce high quality statistics, data and geospatial information to inform sound and evidence decision-making in support of sustainable development, regional and national priorities.
“We need to invest in data and statistics to support Africa’s industrialization agenda,” said Chinganya.
There has been an improvement in the state of data and statistics across countries on the continent if we compare the situation over 20 years ago where data was poor and close to non-existent in cases. There is a lot more that can be done in making data available.”
According to the director, although many countries are making good progress, there is a situation on the continent where some countries, have not even conducted the censuses in the 2020 Round.
“It is very important to have data for the SDGs. When you are able to have data for SDGs which are properly aligned with the National Development Plans, it allows you to be able to know what is going on in improving the lives of people and overall national development.”
If countries do not conduct censuses, this may affect the reporting on SDGs as more than 10 of the SDGs are informed by data from the census that will impact the decision making process, he added.
“Similarly, when we talk about the AfCFTA, we want it to be a driver of the transformational agenda on the continent but to do that we must understand what each country is producing, for instance and what each country is trading, in terms of items, volumes and comparative advantages. For that you need data.”
Source: Ethiopian News Agency