ADDIS ABABA, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde has urged the African continent to instill modern statistical systems for effective policy and decision making endeavors amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ethiopian president made the urgent call during the meeting of the Statistical Commission for Africa (StatCom), which runs virtually until Thursday.
Zewde called for "Africa to urgently transform and modernize its national statistical systems, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic," a UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) statement quoted Zewde as saying.
This year's edition of the high-level meeting is being held for three days under the theme "Developing Regional Solutions to Enhance the Resilience of African National Statistical Systems to Meet the Need for Data During the Decade of Action in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic."
The Ethiopian president said African governments need to provide more support and budgets for modernizing national statistical offices for evidence-based planning and decision making.
"The transformation of national statistical systems in Africa is more important now than ever before as we fight against the pandemic and as we look to build stronger and better systems. Therefore, access to technology by national statistical systems must be promoted in all African countries in view of accelerating the production and use of data and statistics as public good," she said.
"African governments should play a significant role by allocating enough and sustainable budgets to national statistical offices to enable them to provide quality data. We invite our development partners to support the efforts of governments to modernize the national statistical offices, which includes digitalization," Zewde added.
She further stressed that national statistical offices on the continent should provide appropriate quality data to support continental initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement, the African Union's (AU's) Agenda 2063 and the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for informed and effective planning.
The Ethiopian president also shared with the meeting Ethiopia's efforts to modernize its national statistical system and related issues.
Zewde stressed the importance of national statistical systems has been highlighted more during the pandemic as they provide essential data, statistical services and information useful in understanding the impact and reach of COVID-19.
"It is therefore imperative that producers of official statistics must transform and modernize their work in order to adequately respond to these data demands. The urgency of transforming statistical systems has been emphasized by the impact of COVID-19 on statistical systems," she said.
Executive Secretary of the UNECA, Vera Songwe, also shared Zewde's call on the need to modernize Africa's statistical systems.
"At a time when resources are scarce, data is important to design and implement the right policies," said Songwe.
Songwe noted that digitalizing Africa's national statistical systems "is crucial if the continent is to move forward from the multifaceted impacts of COVID-19." Enditem