Fostering the Statistical Development of African Countries: Potential Role of the International Statistical Institute
Dimitri Sanga
African Centre for Statistics, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

In recent past, African countries have increasingly recognized the need for better statistics as a tool for evidence-based policy and decision making and for a better support to policy implementation, monitoring progress and evaluation of outcomes and impacts of development initiatives such as the Millennium Development Goals and the Poverty Reduction Strategies. As a result of this increasing recognition of the importance of statistics, the demand for quality and timely statistics in Africa has seen unprecedented increase. This has challenged already weak and vulnerable National Statistical Systems and presented new opportunities for raising public awareness about statistics and harnessing national and international resources for developing statistical capacities. In response to the above challenges, stakeholders engaged in several initiatives aimed at enhancing the capacity of African countries in this regard.

This paper highlights ongoing statistical capacity building efforts in Africa as well as some potential areas where the International Statistical Institute can contribute to further accelerate the statistical development of African countries. These include the revamping of national and continental statistical associations, support to the statistical training initiatives as well as ongoing efforts in other emerging areas.

Keywords: Statistical development; Statistical association; Statistical training; Mentoring

Biography: Dr Sanga is currently the Director of the African Centre for Statistics (ACS) at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). In this capacity and formerly, he contributed to the revamping of the statistical function at ECA and most notably the inception of ACS. Before joining the United Nations, he served as Senior Economic Statistician at Statistics Canada occupying several posts in areas such as price statistics, national accounts and household surveys undertaking and analysis. He was also part time Professor of economics, econometrics, and statistics in a number of Canadian universities namely Laval, Sherbrooke and Ottawa. He has substantively published in refereed journals and produced a number of textbooks in economics with special interest in index number theory and practices. An elected member of the International Statistical Institute, he currently serves on the Editorial Board of the African Statistical Journal and the African Statistical Newsletter.

Dr Sanga holds a Ph.D. in Econometrics, Masters in Econometrics, and a Bachelor in Engineering from Laval University in Quebec, Canada as well as a G2 in Sciences from the University of Kinshasa, DR Congo. He holds several certificates in official statistics namely in Seasonal Adjustment by the X-11 ARIMA Method, ARIMA Modelling and Forecasting of Time Series, Social Surveys – Households, Business Economic Statistics, and Data Interpretation from the Statistics Canada Training Institute in Ottawa.