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Nov 21, 2016, 10:11 AM

Fellow Gambians;

Today is African Statistics Day; it is celebrated every year on the 18th of November.  This event was initiated in 1990 by the Joint African Conference of Planners, Statisticians and Demographers, a Subsidiary Body of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.  The day is celebrated each year in order to increase awareness about the important role statistics play in all aspects of social and economic development in Africa.

Fellow Gambians, over the years the celebrations have focused on issues related to the importance of statistics in development planning and policy formulation.  Numerous contemporary topics including gender, environment, open data have been covered and discussed throughout the continent.  For 2016, the selected theme is “Strengthening Economic Statistics for Regional Integration, Structural Transformation, and Sustainable Development”. 

The year 2015 marked the end of the Millennium Development Goals and beginning of the implementation of new Sustainable Development Goals.  The goals are at the core of discussions in international communities and hence placing economic statistics at the centre of sustainable development. Thus, the production of better economic statistics will play a crucial role in monitoring the implementation of these goals and other national and international development goals as well. 

Fellow Gambians the responsibilities of the Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS) includes production of Economic statistics that is used by the Government, Development Partners and other key stakeholders to formulate policies and prepare strategic plans to ensure sustainable development.  However, this noble task cannot be done by the Bureau in isolation, that is why collaboration with different stakeholders both local and international is important.  Nevertheless, for produced statistics to meet the required intention of making lives better, overall management of production, analysis and dissemination must be coordinated.  A strengthened and well-coordinated National Statistical System, equipped with modern technologies, will help to improve data collection, processing, analysis and dissemination.  In turn, policymakers will be able to develop informed policies which will lead to an improvement in peoples’ welfare and better lives.

Every one of us is aware that it is the responsibility of the GBoS to disseminate official statistics at all levels of the Government as these data are used for the formulation of different development plans and strategies.  In fulfilling this responsibility GBoS works closely with both local and international stakeholders, knowing that better strategies are formed upon availability of reliable and timely data. I therefore urge all Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies; the private sector; development partners; and the general public to use statistics in planning, monitoring and evaluation of different social and economic development policies in their respective areas and fields.

To the statisticians, the celebration also serves as a reminder of your responsibilities and duty to the development of our country and the African continent in general.  You are also take note of the power of statistics in every aspect of life and thus the need for a strong National Statistical System (NSS) that will ensure production of quality data for sustainable development. To the policy makers, planners, the media, and all stakeholders, sustainable economic development is impossible without strengthened economic statistics, thus the need for improved collaboration.

On a final note, I want to thank GBoS staff and all those involved in our National Statistical System for their efforts in the production and dissemination of statistics for national development, and to wish you successful celebrations.

Thank you for your kind attention.