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After the common minimum statistical programme which was the reference programme of AFRISTAT activities for the period 2001 – 2005, the organisation recently adopted a second medium-term programme dubbed the :AFRISTAT Strategic Plan of Activities for the period 2006-2010 (ASPA).

This development may appear only as a fulfilment of one of the provisions of the Treaty to establish AFRISTAT that requires this institution to draft a medium-term work programme for the performance of its missions. Yet, this programme comes on the eve of the launching of the Second Capitalization Fund (2006-2015) which provides funding to most AFRISTAT activities. More specifically, the implementation of this programme took place in a peculiar context wherein most Member States were engaged in poverty reduction. Indeed, the return to the policy of planned development as evidenced in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers on the one hand, and furtherance of efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals on the other hand, reasserts the role of the decision-making support services, notably statistics, in managing the development of our States.

Through ASPA, AFRISTAT displays its unrelenting commitment to emerge, in the Member States and more generally, throughout Sub-Saharan African States, as a key technical partner in designing development management information systems. The strategic, logical and realistic approach that underpinned the specific objectives, expected outcomes and planned activities for the period 2006-2010, establishes the ASPA as a vigorous working framework that gives visibility and further consistency to AFRISTAT interventions.

While this common programme is not binding on all the Member States, ASPA is actually a guide and reference document for States that have embarked on the formulation of their statistical development strategy. Hence, are the vision and the five strategic thrusts adopted by the Council of Ministers on 6 April 2005 in Cotonou (Benin), the cornerstone of the ASPA, not common factors to the development of national statistical systems?

By adopting ASPA, AFRISTAT’s Council of Ministers not only reaffirmed the support of Member States to their organisation but also recognized the role of AFRISTAT is ready to play in the development of their national statistical systems. Similarly, it urges the technical and financial partners of the States to give the organisation requisite support for the achievement of its objectives in general and specifically, its ambitions as outlined in the ASPA.

The Management of AFRISTAT and the statistical systems of beneficiary States, considering the number of scheduled activities as well as human, material and financial constraints, exhort those who are responsible for the implementation of this plan to be creative and determined in a bid to tackle this challenge and achieve what will be established as giant step at the dawn of 2010. This means entrenching statistics in the daily life of Member States as an indispensable economic integration instrument and tool which is readily available to policymakers, government officials, private sector and civil society in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programmes and projects.

N’Djamena, 14 February 2006

Mahamat Ali Hassan

Minister of Planning, Development and Cooperation

of the Republic of Chad,

Chairman of the AFRISTAT Council of Ministers

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