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Inaugural ECA monthly press briefing focuses on the modernization of national statistical systems

By APO Group
06 July 2022   |   6:00 pm
Download logoThe Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on Tuesday 5 July launched the ECA Monthly Press Briefing, a channel through which the Commission aims to enhance collaboration with the media and facilitate regular access to its experts and knowledge products. During the event, ECA’s African Center for Statistics (ACS) presented some of its ongoing work…

United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
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The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on Tuesday 5 July launched the ECA Monthly Press Briefing, a channel through which the Commission aims to enhance collaboration with the media and facilitate regular access to its experts and knowledge products.

During the event, ECA’s African Center for Statistics (ACS) presented some of its ongoing work and underscored the importance of collaboration between ECA and the media journalists who regularly utilize data and statistics to report the news and put stories into context.

ACS Director, Oliver Chinganya, delivered a presentation detailing the work being done by the Center in areas such as demographic and social statistics, economics statistics and geospatial information statistics and more.  Mr Chinganya discussed the Centre’s realization of the need to update the 2008 Systems of National Accounts (SNA), which is the internationally agreed upon standard set of recommendations on how to compile measures of economic activity.

“This is a process that ensures that new areas and developments are included in the measurements of our economies across the continent. We are assisting countries to revise how their economies are being measured,” said Mr. Chinganya.

The presentation also highlighted the work of the Center regarding the modernization of National Statistical Systems in Africa, innovation, leadership and training.

Mr. Chinganya explained that “Part of modernization is innovation, for this reason we have created a data science campus. It has been twinned with the data science campus in Rwanda. This campus is really about tapping into the potential of big data, uses of administrative data and other sources including the use of modern technologies.”

The ACS Director said COVID-19 came as a mixed blessing as the lockdowns made in-person data collection impossible in most cases. He said recording deaths and births, for example, became almost impossible. This, therefore, precipitated the adoption of modern technologies to facilitate data collection.

The final portion of the presentation focused on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Dashboard. A tool created to track Africa’s progress on achieving Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063. So far, Africa has made progress in 15 of the 17 SDGs. However, this is not enough to achieve the goals of Agenda 2030. Furthermore, if Africa continues the current trajectory, it will be impossible to reach such goals in 2030.

“Out of the 94 measurable targets Africa is likely to meet only 5 at the current progress rate,” said Oliver Chinganya. He also highlighted areas where data availability remains very poor. Such as goal 5 on gender and equality and goal 13 on climate change.

He concluded the session with emphasis on the need for journalists to collect data from government sources and for governments to make data available so that the progress of countries can be recorded.

In collaboration with the ECA Communication and Media Relations Section (CMRS), ACS will be organizing a series of sessions for journalists on data and statistics in order to boost statistical literacy and interest on the topic. CMRS also announced plans to launch an ECA Media Award that recognizes and celebrates good quality reporting on data and statistics, as well as in other areas of work covered by the Commission.

Nita Deerpalsing, Director of the Publications, Conference and Knowledge Management Division at the ECA, also took the floor to welcome journalists to the ECA Monthly Press Briefing, which takes place on the first week of every month. She reminded journalists of their “crucial role” in helping Africa meet its development goals.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).