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GSS, Vodafone, Flowminder Foundation forge partnership to strengthen data use

Ghana Statistical Services (GSS) is partnering Vodafone Ghana and a Non-profit organisation, Flowminder Foundation to produce official statistics using anonymised telecommunications data, to strengthen humanitarian and development decision-making in the country.

This is aimed at taking advantage of technology to transform the production of official statistics and also empowering the GSS with new approaches to analyse and harness data as well as respond to emerging opportunities and challenges.

The project which relies on the use of de-identified (anonymised) and aggregated telecommunications data, to be provided by Vodafone Ghana, will generate population predictions for sustainable development.

 Speaking at the launch of the programme in Accra on Thursday, the Minister for Planning Prof George Gyan-Baffour, in a speech read on his behalf, said data had taken centre stage of the global development discourse and that all human activities and events had data inherent in them.

 He said technology held great potential for data protection and when deployed in service delivery it enhanced the possibility of generating data in real time.

He stated that it was important to leverage technology to increase the availability of real time quality data through partnerships and collaborations in order to revoluntionise and innovate.

According to Prof Gyan-Baffour, the existing data collection regime alone could not provide the timely and much needed disaggregation and other metrics to transform the country, hence the need to fill the data gaps and change the way data was collected and processed.

He said the GSS had engaged with several partners in and outside the country to identify areas of collaboration to increase the production of timely and more disaggregated data.

 According to Prof Gyan-Baffour, Ghana was one of few countries taking advantage of the SDGs; and that it would continue to strive towards the attainment of new frontiers while ensuring that the foundations of existing data systems were strengthened.

He urged the GSS to continue to strive to strengthen timely data production to respond to current and emerging needs in the nation’s quest to achieve the SDGs and the national development framework.

Head of Demographic Statistics and SDGs Coordinator at GSS Omar Seidu said data, in combination with more traditional data sources such as household surveys, would provide useful information on the mobility and characteristics of the Ghanaian population, which could be used for a wide range of humanitarian and development applications such as public health, disaster preparedness, or transportation planning.

He said GSS and its partners recognise that the achievement of the SDGs was dependent on the capability of the government, policy makers and agencies to make informed decisions and successfully deliver interventions for the wellbeing of the population.

“If we want to achieve the SDGs, we need to invest in data systems, and we are confident that our successful partnership with Vodafone Ghana and Flowminder is the way forward to leverage data for good”, Mr Seidu said.

Director External Affairs, Vodafone Ghana Gayheart Mensah, said  his outfit was  excited about the collaboration  and that it was a proof  that telecommunications could leverage  the  strengths of their core business  to do good in a more consistent and sustainable way.

He pledged Vodafone’s commitment to ensuring that data was mined for the good of every Ghanaian.

BY JEMIMA ESINAM KUATSINU

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