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With regard to the global objective, AFRISTAT’s activity, during the 2006-2010 period, will focus on five thrusts1 :

  1. provide support and technical assistance to national statistics systems of States in the area of organisational capacities, for the development of statistics and training;
  2. contribute to developing information systems for designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating poverty reduction strategies, as well as for implementing the Millennium Development Goals ;
  3. provide support to Sub-Saharan African States for capacity building in data collection, processing and analysis, as well as the compilation of statistical and economic reports;
  4. develop and contribute to data base development in States and capacity building in the dissemination of statistics;
  5. contribute to applied research with a view to developing methodologies tailored to the capacities of national statistical systems of States.

The first three thrusts pertain to virtually all areas covered by a national statistics system, while the fourth covers the dissemination of statistical data and reports, an often neglected aspect in the statistical production process. Lastly, the fifth thrust does not directly relate to AFRISTAT’s intervention plan in States, indeed, it is an investment programme whose main objective is to promote the development of collection and analytic tools and methods suitable to the needs of Member States.

These guidelines illustrate a genuine concern for a balanced approach:

  • the first thrust seeks to provide support to States for the creation of an enabling administrative and institutional environment for statistical production;
  • the second and third thrusts attest to the desire to scale up and tailor support to Member States for the purpose of statistical production and in compliance with the requirements of good governance, decentralization and poverty alleviation, without overlooking data production that is indispensable in designing economic and budgetary policies, development strategies and in the regional integration process;
  • the fifth thrust demonstrates an awareness of AFRISTAT’s need to invest, with partner support, to step up its technical intervention capacity as well as that of Members States in new areas from which most demands will be required.

3.2.1   Technical assistance in institutional organisation and training

One of the characteristics of NSS in Sub-Saharan African States is their inability to respond to an increasing and diversified demand for data as required by result-driven development management. This weakness, on the one hand, accounts for the ill-adapted institutional organisation and on the other hand, for inadequate and sometimes, lack of statistical programming with defined priorities. The situation is further compounded by quantitative and qualitative financial, material and human resource deficiency.

During the 2006-2010 period, AFRISTAT will boost support to Member States, in collaboration with Technical and Financial Partners (TFPs), with a view to:

  • reviewing or preparing draft instruments relating to the organisation of statistical activity (managing and coordinating statistics, designing communication strategies and continued training plans) ;
  • formulating or updating national strategies for statistical development;
  • defining and implementing a regional statistical training policy, in particular, continued training in collaboration with schools of statistical training centres in the region.

With respect to the organisation of NSS, AFRISTAT will pursue discussions on the development of tools for the day-to-day management of statistical services (annual work plans, progress reports, communication plans, etc.). AFRISTAT will also initiate joint projects in Member States for which it will seek funding from technical and financial partners.

3.2.2   Support to the development of information systems for monitoring poverty alleviation strategies and implementing of Millennium Development Goals

By engaging in the PRSP and MDG processes, which clearly establishes the need for sustainable human development, States are aware that it primarily entails defining the concept of poverty, understanding its root causes and developing an appropriate strategy for each national social, economic and cultural context. This explains why information systems for developing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating poverty reduction strategies have become essential tools. For poverty reduction strategies to achieve their objectives, they must be based on a thorough knowledge of the population, notably its demographic and socio-economic characteristics.

The objective of this thrust is to respond to growing demands from States for the development of operational information systems to monitor and evaluate PRSPs and MDGs. The main requirement is to address immediate needs for formulating and monitoring PRSP/MDGs (defining progress indicators, improving data systems on household living conditions, enhanced policy, programme and project monitoring consistent with the strategic thrusts outlined in the PRSP). It also seeks to support States in the regular compilation of structural and demographic data. Moreover, on the basis of economic statistics provided mainly by NSO during its first period of operation, AFRISTAT’s action will be extended to sectoral statistics : education, health and employment. To meet this requirement, AFRISTAT will work with Member States to put in place information systems for the purpose of:

  • regularly conducting a population census;
  • profiling poverty from its various and complex angles;
  • responding to the need for reliable and timely statistical information for monitoring poverty;
  • building confidence through networking to ease ownership by all actors of the information system as an evolving process which guarantees the monitoring and evaluation of policies, programmes and projects;
  • proposing an efficient statistical capacity building plan to meet minimum requirements for PRSP monitoring and evaluation.

It will entail supporting Member States to address these needs. Considering the importance of mastering population growth trends in Member States and the complex nature of issues touching on poverty reduction strategies, emphasis will be placed on the following :

  • providing support to States for the conduct of cost-effective censuses and demographic surveys;
  • pursuing discussions, in conjunction with Member States, with a view to supporting the design of a reference framework and minimum methodological requirements for monitoring PRSPs and MDGs developed by AFRISTAT.

3.2.3  Support for the production of data and statistical reports

In a good number of Sub-Saharan African countries, production of most statistics extracted from administrative sources or periodic surveys is irregular. Yet, such projects are very cost-effective. However, a situational analysis of the States shows that such data are not processed regularly. Thus, AFRISTAT would systematically encourage the use of these data collection methods by providing the requisite processing instruments.

Emphasis will be placed not only on economic statistics, which are currently monitored, but also on statistics bearing on other domains (transport, tourism, handicraft, etc.). In this respect, AFRISTAT will support States in developing relevant and appropriate area-specific tools (sampling base, directories, data collection and processing instruments, etc.).

Concerning economic reports, the reform of national accounts as set out in 1993 SNA using the ERETES software will be maintained and encouraged. In particular, discussions will be pursued with a view to providing each Member State with a framework for developing provisional national accounts consistent with the level of development of its statistical system. Discussions will be conducted within the framework of earlier efforts in collaboration with partners, notably INSEE, EUROSTAT and AFD. AFRISTAT will continue to provide assistance to States in the compilation of reports on the economic situation.

Public finance, monetary and balance of payment statistics have been deliberately excluded from from the ASPA, since West AFRITAC provides technical assistance to the WAEMU zone.2 .

3.2.4  Development of socio-economic data bases

Over the past years, efforts were made to develop centralized data bases for the dissemination of statistical information. Several specific tools were developed for processing statistics but resources for their maintenance or improvement were often lacking. The design, monitoring and evaluation of meaningful decentralization and poverty reduction policies require geographical data at local government level to refine studies on poverty, decentralization and governance.

Projects have been launched with States in a bid to support their drive to organize dissemination. These will be pursued with special emphasis on the:

  • development of NSO Internet sites for disseminating information;
  • development of national data bases within NSO ;
  • development of a regional data base at the AFRISTAT Head Office.

AFRISTAT will pursue the introduction of statistical processing or dissemination tools developed by technical and financial partners. It will also design processing data tools on household surveys as well as specific tools for processing administrative data or data from specific surveys (Statistical and Tax declaration, business surveys, consumer price index, producer price index, business directory, labour force surveys, agricultural surveys, etc.).

Other forms of support will be provided to States; it entails AFRISTAT’s assistance in:

  • developing sampling frames based on area data compiled during population and housing censuses (household surveys) or business directories (business surveys);
  • data archiving ;
  • developing and opening access to documentary data bases of NSO documentation centres.

AFRISTAT will also focus on technological monitoring and dissemination of statistical methods and tools, as well as of best practices in Member States.

3.2.5  Applied research and studies

One of the missions of AFRISTAT is to support Member States in developing harmonized methods for producing and disseminating statistical information. During AFRISTAT’s initial period of operation, the efforts of its experts to design harmonized tools did not yield the expected dividends. In addition, Member States repeatedly requested that socio-economic analysis and research be included in the current scope of activities.

AFRISTAT plans, during the period 2006-2010, to invest in applied research by establishing partnerships with specialized data production and analysis bodies in order to contribute to the design, monitoring and evaluation of development policies.

The creation of an applied research centre3 , on the decision of the Board of Directors in October 2004, has been instrumental in furthering this objective. AFRISTAT and IRD4signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2005 under which both parties agree to develop the centre’s activities over the next four years. This partnership will cover several areas, notably survey methodologies, household survey data analysis, training and capacity building, sharing and showcasing survey findings.

AFRISTAT will gradually emerge as a centre for research on and development of appropriate data collection, processing and analysis tools and methods tailored to the socio-economic environment of States in the region. This centre could also run pilot projects that contribute to the adaptive maintenance of computer applications generally used in producing and analyzing statistics.

In concrete terms, the CERA will strive to work in four main directions:

  • investment in statistical methodology to showcase survey data from AFRISTAT supported States and sustain various national systems;
  • analysis and applied research focusing on household surveys which will be extended to the field of forecasting ;
  • training and capacity building of AFRISTAT experts, NSO senior staff and lecturers of statistical training centres;
  • sharing and showcasing (publications5 ,communications, hosting of researchers, etc.) with view to accessing the international scientific (economic and statistical) community.

1 See Report of the 14th session of AFRISTAT Council of Ministers meeting held on 6 April 2005 in Cotonou (Benin).

2 See East and West AFRITAC Programme Document for May 2006 to April 2009 period.

3 CERA (Centre de recherche appliquée d’AFRISTAT) AFRISTAT Applied Research Centre.

4 French IRD (Institut de recherche pour le development), the research institute for develoment, conducts comparative research on relationships between population and economic growth, resource allocation and State interventions. It will work under this partnership through its research unit, DIAL (Développement, Institutions, Analyse de Long terme), that is, development, institutions and long-term analysis.

5 AFRISTAT will strengthen its participation in the STATECO journal, jointly published with INSEE and DIAL.

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3.1 Global objective of the plan Table of contents 3.3. Scaling up resources for AFRISTAT's work