African Union Seventh Meeting of the Committee of Directors General of National Statistics Offices

The Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU), meeting in May 2013 in Addis Ababa, recommended that a development agenda for Africa for the coming 50 years be put in place. This agenda will help Africa overcome under-development. The time line is for this Africa Agenda is 2063 and includes a Pan African Parliament, single currency, integrated economies with freedom in circulation of people with minimal physical borders; promotion of science and technology. Thus it is necessary for professional statisticians to be consulted to ensure that statistical needs are taken into consideration within this development program.

This meeting considered the status and challenges inherent in the production and use of economic statistics, especially those related to national accounts, as a means to support the transformation of African economies and what is needed to monitor/evaluate the implementation of Africa’s development agenda for coming half century

The Assembly of Heads of State and government of the AU took two major decisions to create a Pan-African Statistical Training Centre and an Institute of Statistics. The AU Commission in collaboration with Tunisian authorities has drafted an operational plan which will be discussed.

ADEA’s Working Group on Educational Management and Policy Support (WG EMPS) team leader Angela Arnott represented the Association. The continental issues impacting on statistics in general, and the Strategy for the Harmonisation of Statistics in Africa (SHaSA) and the Charter of Statistics, in particular were discussed. Ms. Arnott presented the position of the African Working Group on Education (on behalf of the African Union).

The conference opened by Mr Pali Lehohla, Statistician General, Statistics Department South Africa. In addition presentations were heard from Mr Oliver Chinganya, Statistics Departmentt of the African Development Bank, Dr Chukwudozie Ezigbalike, and Officer in Charge, UNECA, and Dr Anthony Maruping, Commissioner for Economic Affairs, AUC.

A background paper by UNECA was presented on Economic Statistics. AFDB presented a paper based on a survey on statistical capacity of some African countries in March 2013.Prof. Lorenzo Fioramonti, Director of the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation, University of Pretoria presented a paper on Why Africa needs to lead the Beyond GDP Debate. This created a discussion on the credibility of African statistics and statistical colonialism.

The AU Institute for Statistics and Pan African Statistical training Centre were established to produce quality statistics for Africa by gathering statistics for Africa, mobilize technical and financial assistance and coordinate research agenda. The Institute will also collaborate with partners to have comparable data for member states. It will ensure that international standards are applied for its statistics, and will coordinate the production of statistics among the different players – countries and partners, and support SHaSA Working Groups.