Make statistics applicable, Zambia urges COMESA statisticians

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Zambia has urged statistical bodies in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) countries to link statistical systems with the needs of users so that they are applicable to national development planning.

Officially opening the Ninth (9th) COMESA Committee on Statistical Matters, in Lusaka today, Ministry of National Development Planning, Permanent Secretary for Development Planning and Administration  Chola  Chabala said linking statistical systems and needs of the users would make statistics more relevant and applicable to national development planning.

He informed the delegates that the Zambia was about to undertake a critical activity to rebase its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which will have far reaching implications on socio-economic policies.

“This policy and other statistical activities underscore the importance of statistics in shaping, not only our policy direction but also the development trajectory of our countries,” Mr. Chabala said. “This should give us a critical reflection of the vital role statistics play in development planning and monitoring and evaluating our development interventions.”

The Permanent Secretary reminded the delegates that the 37th COMESA Council of Ministers meeting approved the 2017-2020 COMESA statistics strategy. He said the strategy aims at providing an overarching framework of how statistical development will be undertaken in the COMESA region.

“It was heartening that at the end period review of the prior strategy by African Development Bank and Paris 21, a favourable review of the performance of your work as a Committee and the work of the Secretariat in the prior 2014-2017 statistics strategy was given,” said Mr. Chabala. “The approach of the 2017-2020 statistics strategy is taken based on providing a statistical response to COMESA’s Medium Term Strategic Plan (MTSP). Therefore, the challenge for your Committee and the Secretariat is really on how to draft programmes that are clearly responsive to the Medium Term Strategic Plan and ensure delivery of results within reasonable time lines.”

And COMESA Secretary General Ms Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe said the COMESA Statistical System is underpinned by the national strategies for development of statistics while synergising with the continental frameworks such as the SHASA II and at the international level the Busan Action Plan for Statistics.

“Your meeting marks the first year of implementation of the 2017-2020 statistics strategy. Accordingly, your secretariat will be reporting on progress made in the year under review,” Ms. Kapwepwe said. “We look forward to your guidance on issues related to the implementation so as to ensure that our programs have the stamp of your ownership as member states.”

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