Statistical Development

1. Core functions

The core functions of the Statistical Development are:

  • Preparing and availing reports on statistical activities in Africa, including the technical and financial support provided by partners;
  • Conducting research and contributing to the development of concepts, definitions, classifications, methods, and standards in various areas of statistics;
  • Undertaking methodological research on new and emerging issues in various areas of statistics through technical networking and working groups;
  • Providing technical assistance in the design and implementation national strategies for the development of statistics in collaboration with partners;
  • Designing training materials and harmonized curricula for statistical training centres in Africa;
  • Advocating for resource mobilization to conduct statistical operations and efficient use of administrative, census, and survey data;
  • Providing technical assistance in support of data collection mechanisms through close collaboration with countries, review and validate data in order to ensure a continuous flow of data from members States to feed the ECA Database; and
  • Research and application of data quality frameworks for the ECA.

The key priority areas for the section are: Supporting the development of statistical systems in Africa, improving statistics for food security; Sustainable agriculture, and rural development; and Statistical training programmes in Africa.

2. Priority Areas

2.1 Supporting the Development of Statistical Systems in Africa

The increasing demands for quality statistics have exerted severe pressure on the already fragile and underperforming national statistical systems in many African countries. Concerted action is therefore needed to address this problem. In particular, statistical systems need to be reformed and strengthened, and statistical capacities need to be built in a sustainable manner if the data challenges are to be met.

The main activities under this priority area include the following:

  • Designing and implementing national strategies for the development of statistics (NSDS), and providing technical assistances to countries on the development of their statistical systems;
  • Revitalizing the networks and focal points for an effective reporting mechanism on countries' statistical operations and the technical and financial support provided by partners;
  • Reporting on statistical capacity building in Africa, including the situation of countries and the assessment of the quality of the data produced;
  • Conducting reviews on standards and codes (ROSC) on the statistical capacity of countries;
  • Monitoring and implementing the Reference Regional Strategic Framework for Statistical Capacity in Africa (RRSF);
  • Organizing the meetings of Committee on Statistics as a platform to review the statistical development in Africa;
  • Providing substantive support to the regional statistical committees, including AFRISTAT steering committee, SADC and COMESA committee on statistical harmonization;
  • Coordinating donors' support to countries in difficult situations according to the reviews on standards and codes (ROSC) and the reports on statistical capacity building;
  • Serving as link between Africa and the international statistical communities, including statistical coordination committees and inter-regional projects.

2.2 Improving Statistics for Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture, and Rural Development

In response to the many challenges of meeting user needs for agricultural statistics in developing countries, a Global Strategy for Improving Agricultural and Rural Statistics was proposed and endorsed in February 2010 by the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC). ECA will be implementing the training component of the Global Action Plan for Africa.
The main activities under this priority area include the following:

  • Identification of country specific needs and weaknesses in the production of agricultural statistics and the provision of technical assistance to countries to address these needs and weaknesses;
  • Technically assist countries on the development of a Sector Strategic Plan for Agricultural Statistics (SSPAS) in the context of NSDSs;
  • Technically assist countries in the development and harmonization of data sources;
  • Technical assist countries in data harmonization and management;
  • Technically assist countries in the use of modern technologies and accurate methodologies on agricultural data collection in African countries;
  • Advocate to enhance the financial, technical and human resources in Agricultural statistics in African countries;
  • Technically assist African Training Centres in delivering effective training courses in agricultural statistics;
  • Collaboration with FAO on research activities leading to improvement of methodologies and tools on agricultural statistics.

2.3 Statistical Training Programmes in Africa

As a response to the challenges faced by African countries in the area of statistical training, the African Group on Human Resources and Statistical Training (AGROST) has been established with the objective of "ensuring the coordination of activities and initiatives in support of statistical training and human resources development in Africa". The specific objectives of AGROST are to centralize information on initiatives and programmes in support of statistical training, to ensure their monitoring and to establish a permanent forum for the exchange of information and best practices on statistical training and human resources development in African national statistical systems. The African Centre for Statistics is currently hosting the secretariat of AGROST.
The main activities under this priority area include the following:

  • Training human resource managers in NSOs in areas including and not limited to techniques used for training needs assessment and human resources planning;
  • Support the integration of training and human resources development in the annual planning and budgeting process of NSOs and other producers of official statistics;
  • Develop standardized guidelines, syllabi/curricula as the basis of accreditation in the African statistical training system;
  • Expand and align statistical training programmes to the African integration agenda and NSDS including emerging statistical issues;
  • Establish an accreditation system for statistical training programmes in Africa;
  • Coordinating donors' support to statistical training in Africa.