SADC Statistian General preaches harmony at committee meeting

31 May 2019 18:50pm
SWAKOPMUND, 31 MAY (NAMPA) - Members of the statistics agencies in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) preached the importance of harmony when it comes to collecting statistics during the recently ended 26th SADC Statistics Committee Meeting held here from Wednesday to Friday.
One of the meeting’s objectives was to coordinate the countries’ statistics, compare and then harmonise them.
In an interview on Friday, Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) Statistician General Alex Shimuafeni highlighted the 2020 Population Census as one of the main topics discussed at the meeting.
The programme recognises population and housing censuses as one of the primary sources of data needed for formulating, implementing and monitoring policies and programmes aimed at inclusive socioeconomic development and environmental sustainability.
“During these deliberations, countries who have already carried out their population census, taught and shared their experiences with those who are yet to carry out theirs like Namibia, whose is scheduled for 2021,” Shimuafeni said.
He added that learning from these countries enables Namibia to not have to reinvent the wheel as well as to avoid mistakes made by these countries.
Other topics included trade-in services statistics, which record the value of services exchanged between residents and non-residents of an economy, including those provided through foreign affiliates established abroad.
“Although Namibia is not collecting this type of data at the moment, it gives us an advantage of learning from countries who are collecting that type of statistics for when we embark on it,” he said.
Mozambique’s Census Director, Arao Mbalate, noted that collecting statistics is crucial for countries and the entire region in general, as it is from the statistics that governments are able to make changes towards a country’s development.
He said the availability of money and information technology are some of the challenges the countries all have in common, which hinder the successful collecting of some statistics.
Chief Executive Officer of the National Bureau of Statistics in Seychelles, Laura Ahtime said although the continent faces financial and IT challenges, there are solutions that can be explored.
“We have discussed migrating away from collecting data with paper questionnaires into using tablets. We aim to rotate these gadgets amongst ourselves, seeing as we do not all have our population census at the same time,” Ahtime noted.
She added that automated data is important and easier to capture and is something the region is looking forward to.
The SADC Statistics committee was established in 1995 by the SADC council to deal with regional statistical matters.