African Statistics Day 2020 focuses on statistics and data in building a peaceful Africa
Information from UNECA
Countries have embarked on national activities in celebration of the African Statistics Day under the theme “Modernising national statistical systems to provide data and statistics to support sustainable peace and development in Africa”. This year’s theme is in tandem with the theme of the African Union for the year 2020, “Silencing the guns: Creating conducive conditions for Africa’s development”.
Director of the Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA) African Statistics Centre, Oliver Chinganya, explains that the theme was chosen to raise awareness among decision-makers, technical and financial partners, data producers, researchers and the general public of the critical importance of governance and socioeconomic statistics in achieving the goal of a conflict-free Africa.
Peace, security and socioeconomic development must be pursued simultaneously to “silence the guns” across the continent.
“Digitisation of statistical systems and processes will be key in modernising national statistical systems to provide data and statistics for decision making timely. The effect of COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that there is need to not just strengthen but re-engineer statistical systems and this has to be done now, and the African Statistics Day is the dawn to this change,” Chinganya said.
He added the ECA will also continue to provide support to the development of Covid-19 national and continental dashboards to provide a geospatial response to the pandemic.
The contribution of statistics to peace goes beyond counting the sorrows caused by conflict. Statistics can be used to create the conditions that are conductive to Africa’s development.
Governance statistics are fundamental to ensuring that the relationship between the state and its people is inclusive, transparent and accountable. They assist in monitoring the performance of government, in better understanding the contribution of governance in its various dimensions to development, and in ensuring that policy-making is evidence-based.
Governance statistics contribute to the measurement and realisation of human rights. They can help to identify groups or subgroups in the population that are most affected by dysfunction in governance systems, with a view to putting in place appropriately targeted policies so as to leave no one behind.
Governance, peace and security statistics can also contribute to the prevention and management of conflict and violence. When used as early-warning systems, they can help to foster peace by regularly providing information on the status of state-society relations, which lie at the centre of sustainable peace.
Available data indicate that Africa is performing poorly across a range of governance, peace and security indicators, as compared to other regions of the world. By educating citizens in the use of data and statistics to inform the choices that they make, national statistical systems can enhance democratic debate in a country.
Statistical literacy is therefore key to promoting good governance and to understanding what can be done to end war, civil conflict and gender-based violence.
Socioeconomic statistics are essential to understanding and using economic information for planning and policy design. Macroeconomic decision-making that is grounded in data and statistics offers a path to ensuring economic growth and job creation, which will in turn lift more people out of poverty and increase their production.