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The establishment of the Economic and Statistical Observatory for Sub-Saharan Africa (AFRISTAT), on 21 September 1993 by Economy and Finance ministers of the fourteen African countries that comprised the Franc Zone1 at the time was a turning point not only for these States but also, for the countries of Central and West Africa in respect of formulating policies for the development of statistics.

After a decade of operation marked by clearly established performance, AFRISTAT has entered into its second phase of operation in January 2006. This second phase of its development coincides with the replenishment of the AFRISTAT Fund which will finance most of its activities for the period 2006-2015.

Ever since, the organisation whose activities were effectively launched in January 1996 has made a positive and remarkable contribution to finding solutions to the manifold setbacks to the regular provision of statistical information which is indispensable in decision-making.

Its establishment concurred, in the early 1990s, with the advent of democracy which triggered awareness on the need for all economic and social stakeholders to access accurate and reliable statistical information which is vital for good governance of States.

AFRISTAT was created in the context of an economic and financial crisis marked by the implementation of structural adjustment programmes backed by the international community that led to an increasing demand for relevant statistics which could hardly be satisfied by National Statistical Office (NSO). With specific regard to States of the Franc Zone, the devaluation of the CFA franc in early 1994 once more highlighted the inability of National Statistical Systems (NSS) to respond to such demands. During the same period, the establishment of sub-regional integration bodies was equally plagued by the lack of harmonized and comparative data for the formulation of integration policies.

In this context, the inception of this body was timely in “contributing to the development of economic, social and environmental statistics in the Member States and strengthening their capacities in this area.” In other words, AFRISTAT should enable Member States to improve the production of reliable and relevant statistics for public administration, private sector and civil society.

Accordingly, on 19 September 2000, the Council of Ministers of AFRISTAT adopted the Common Minimum Statistical Programme (PROSMIC), the reference framework for the development of statistics in the Member States for the period 2001-2005. Modelled on six priority areas (statistical coordination, national accounts, economic and social trends, dissemination of statistical information, statistics to index household living conditions and poverty, and agricultural statistics), PROSMIC laid the groundwork for the revival of NSS, most of which were in lethargy.

The evaluation of the implementation of this plan ascertained the dire need to pursue the development of statistics in Member States to ensure that development strategies are based on information which gauges progress in development. However, the implementation of PROSMIC witnessed some drawbacks owing to difficulties in mobilizing funds simultaneously in all the States2.

Outside the established strengths of AFRISTAT, the mid-term review conducted during the first phase of its activities3 , recommended stringency in activities “with a view to enhancing the technical and financial coherence of its interventions for the purpose of sound monitoring”.

AFRISTAT’s Strategic Plan of Activities for 2006-2010 (ASPA) is the adequate framework and has a dual objective, namely :

   to provide AFRISTAT with a management, forecasting, coordination and resource mobilization tool for the period under review;

   to establish a model framework for NSS of Member States on which to build their national statistical development strategies.

This plan highlights the substance of AFRISTAT activities over the next five years for the purpose of strengthening the statistical capacities of its Member States in respect of monitoring and evaluation of poverty reduction strategies and Millennium Development Goals (MDG) on one hand, and designing of reporting systems for result-oriented development management on the other hand.

This document presents AFRISTAT’s Strategic Plan of Activities for 2006-2010. The first part briefly describes the general context of ASPA. The second part discusses the challenges awaiting ASPA during the period 2006-2010 and outlines the long-term vision of its action. The third and fourth parts respectively address the plan strategy and content. ASPA also covers other issues such as costing, implementation conditions, partnership, monitoring and evaluation and conditions of success and risks. The logical framework of activities is found in the annex.

1AFRISTAT comprises 17 Member States: 14 founding States (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo) and 3 States that joined since the organisation became operational (Cape Verde, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Mauritania). Cape Verde which was a member, withdrew from the Organisation in end-2005.

2 Cf. Xavier Charoy (2004), Evaluation du Programme statistique minimum commun.

3 John P. Watson, Graham White, Christine Spanneut, Jean-Michel Emprou (2003), Bilan-évaluation d’AFRISTAT, The European Commission EUROSTAT Unit C-3

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Foreword Table of contents 1.1 General context