Pan-African Institute for Statistics (STATAFRIC)
With the advent of political independence in the early 1960s, African Heads of State and Government sought to integrate African peoples politically, economically, socially and culturally. Although not so specifically worded, the African integration agenda provided the overall objective of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). In order to make the OAU more effective, it was subsequently transformed into the present-day African Union (AU) in Lomé, Togo, in 2001.
Initiatives were taken to facilitate implementation of the integration agenda over the years. These include the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), the African Solidarity Initiative (ASI) and the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), among others. However, their impact on growth and integration has not been established due to a lack of reliable statistics. This is a situation Heads of State and Government have always been aware of because the issue of building statistical capacity has been a common thread that has linked the various integration initiatives.
Building of capacity for the production and use of statistics has been one of the recurrent themes starting with the 1990 Addis Ababa Plan of Action (AAPA) for Statistical Development in the 1990s; through both its evaluation in 2000 and the subsequent evaluations of national statistics systems of member states; development of the Reference Regional Strategic Framework for Statistical Capacity Building in Africa (RRSF) in 2006; development of National Strategies for the Development of Statistics (NSDS); development in 2009 of the African Charter on Statistics (ACS); and development in 2010 of the Strategy for the Harmonisation of Statistics in Africa (SHaSA). The Charter provides a framework for development of policies and good practices for the development, production and use of statistics. SHaSA was developed to guide the process of harmonisation of statistics in the areas of: concepts and definitions, adaptation of international or peer-agreed good practices (such as quality frameworks) and use of common methodologies for the production and dissemination of statistics. The purpose of SHaSA is to facilitate comparisons of statistics of AU member states across time through coordination and collaboration of national, regional and international stakeholders.
Implementation of the provisions of SHaSA and the Charter are in progress albeit quite slowly relative to the implementation plan. The Institute is an outcome of SHaSA’s Strategic Objective 2 (To establish an effective coordination mechanism) of Strategic Theme 2 (To coordinate the production of quality Statistics for Africa).
The establishment of the Institute forms part of the process of implementing the Decision of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government. The Pan-African Statistics Programme is part of the wider Pan African Programme, which is a realisation of a partnership between the European Union and the AU to support institutional capacity building in the latter.
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