The African Statistics Day is observed on the 18th of November annually throughout the continent as a day to raise awareness about the importance of statistics in all aspects of social, economic and environmental dimensions impacting on the quality of life of its people.
On African Statistics Day, users and producers of statistics are reminded of the need for better data. Without quality data, policymakers and other stakeholders would not be able to effectively formulate our guide policy formulation, plan and make informed decisions, hence the need for the development of statistics across the National Statistical System. In this regard, availability and accessibility of quality data cannot be overemphasized as it continuously drives the need for functional statistical systems that are technologically inclined.
By virtue of being in the 4th Industrial Revolution, the use of modern technology in improving data synthesizing processes is mission-critical. African National Statistics Offices are compelled to move away from the traditional paper-based survey forms to an increased usage of mobile devices and the internet for the production, dissemination, and storage of timely and high- quality data. Statistics Botswana has been utilising these technologies at an increasing rate over the last five years and will conduct its first digital census in 2021.
This year, the African Statistics Day is commemorated under the theme, “Everyone Counts: quality statistics for better management of forced displacement in Africa.” This theme is in line with the theme for the African Union Summit of 2019, “The year of refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons: towards durable solutions to forced displacement in Africa”. The theme was chosen to raise awareness on the critical importance of disaggregated statistics when responding to the core concept of the Sustainable Development Goals, “leaving no one behind”, and specifically to the challenge of handling forced displacement in Africa.
This theme is driven by the need for greater commitment by Africa to address the plight of its citizens in forced migration situations, by implementing strategic and relevant programmes and working towards the ratification of the various African Union treaties and legal instruments addressing the plight of refugees and displaced persons. This is done towards achievement of Aspiration 4 Goal of Africa’s Agenda 2063 of providing a peaceful and secure environment for all Africans on the continent”.
The main factors that lead to forced displacement are conflicts and violence, along with natural disasters and climate change, health emergencies such as the Ebola outbreak, food insecurity, and extreme poverty, and social injustice and bad governance.
Collaboration among national statistical offices, migration authorities and international organisations are necessary to produce accurate, relevant and timely data for humanitarian actions. Representative and high-quality data, produced using sound statistical methods, provide crucial guidance on where and how to spend resources concerning humanitarian and development interventions that foster inclusion and promote socio-economic development for the displaced people as well as for the host communities.
In the years leading up to 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals will play an important role in policy discussions, and disaggregated high-quality statistics on forced displacement will be critical for their monitoring and implementation. These discussions will be centred on ensuring that all people, regardless of their backgrounds, will have rights, including the right to be free from need, poverty and hunger, fear, want and lost dignity, and the right to a decent life in a peaceful and healthy environment.
The Government of Botswana has made a commitment to its citizenry on issues relating to the synergies and achievements of the targets for Botswana Vision 2036, the Sustainable Development Goals, National Development Plan 11 and Agenda 2063: Africa We Want of the African Union. It is worth noting, therefore, that statistics play a critical role in the monitoring and evaluation of the progress towards achieving the goals and targets of these development frameworks, a role that Statistics Botswana is authorised and empowered to lead through the Statistics Act of 2009 and the Census Act.
It is in this regard that on this African Statistics Day, our organization, Statistics Botswana, advises stakeholders of our intent to work with local and international experts and stakeholders to produce data that can be used to advance efforts that will inform policies and programmes for the best management of forced displacement of persons.
AFRICAN STATISTICS DAY STATEMENT
BY STATISTICIAN GENERAL
Dr. BURTON MGUNI