ECA, statistical service hold census workshop in Accra

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in partnership with -the UK Office of National Statistics (UK-ONS) has organised a Census Workshop on Good Practice in Digital Censuses.

The workshop was hosted by the Statistical Service to enable participants have extensive access to officials involved in the Ghana census, deepening their knowledge of the Ghanaian lessons and build wider relationships for future collaboration.

The Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, in a speech read on his behalf by his Deputy, Mrs Fatimatu Abubakar, highlighted the innovations and successes of Ghana’s first digital census which have attracted international interest and lessons learned from Ghanaian’s experience.

“The conduct of Ghana’s first digital census and the successful release of results within 44 days of exiting the field has garnered international interest in the lessons learned from the implementation of the 2021 Population and House Census (PHC),”  he said.

“In addition to sharing statistics, engaging with data users and advocating for data uptake for decision-making. The objectives of the 2021 PHC dissemination strategy also include conducting sustained intercensal activities for continuity and maintaining public awareness of the importance of the census and sharing lessons learned from the 2021 PHC with the global community,” Mr Nkrumah added.

The Minister also touched on the challenges encountered during the COVID-19 pandemic to conduct a population census successfully. He said the Statistical Service was able to overcome those challenges with the support of government and key stakeholders.

The Government Statistician, Professor Samuel Kobina Annim, in his address shared insights on the secrets of Ghana’s census success.

 These included the use of quantitative indicators for planning, process monitoring and evaluating of outcomes; inclusion and diversity at all levels; constantly redefining and interrogating the process; and not neglecting the intangible factors.

Dr William Muhwava, the Chief of the Demographic and Social Statistics Section at the African Centre for Statistics, in his remarks commended Ghana for being the only country in the sub-region which conducted a census in 2021 while other countries scheduled to have their census in 2021 either delayed or indefinitely postponed their census.

“With censuses less than 20 out of the 54 censuses slated to be conducted between 2015 and 2024 completed, there are several challenges to overcome”, he said.

“That has created the need for an alternative approaches; use of technology and South-South cooperation which is one of the reasons why the Census Workshop is being hosted in Accra. It is important that Ghana is a good example to learn lessons from.”

The Head of Human Development at the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Madam Enyonam Azumah, also gave remarks on behalf of the British High Commissioner, focusing on the importance of conducting censuses, utilising technology, and South-South cooperation.

Over 70 officials from 17 countries participated in the workshop which was scheduled to take place from 21st to 25th February in Accra. The sessions will focus on strengthening the capacity of National Statistical Officers for using technology in digital censuses to improve quality, efficiency and timeliness of results. There will be sessions on three of the four days featuring presentations from officials from the Ghana Statistical Service, sharing lessons learned from the recent census implementation.

BY TIMES REPORTER

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