The days when civil registration was considered irrelevant in Africa is becoming a thing of the past as the continent’s professionals in the field are working to make the subject a key part of development discourse in Africa.
The mantra is ‘Leave no one behind.” And so in 2020 all 54 African countries would conduct national census projects to cover all their populations.
Speaking at a media event in Yamoussoukro, Pali Lehohla, the Statistician-General of Statistics South Africa told journalists at the 3rd Conference of Ministers Responsible for Civil Registration that the meeting in Cote d’Ivoire is to make sure ‘that no one is left behind”, and that everyone is counted.
He said the decision to count everyone predates the Secretary-Generals of the UN in that as early as 2009 “we were focusing on vital statistics. It was Africa that focused on civil registeration and vital statistics while the statistics communities in other parts of the world were concentrating on other areas. Asia and the rest of the world eventually followed Africa,” he added.
He emphasized that Civil Registeration and Vital Statistics (CRVS), is a crucial instrument in knowing if anyone is left behind.
“CRVS is a tool for accountability. Having CRVS is important in that it enables us to hold our governments to account,” he said.
He also indicated that in 2020 all the 54 countries in Africa would hold national censuses.
Dr. Dozie Ezigbelike, the Officer-in-Charge of the Centre for African Statistics of the ECA said the relevance of the media in the work of statisticians is important because of the importance of building knowledge and skills of journalists to enable them disseminate information on civil registeration efficiently and effectively.
The African Union is organizing the one-week Conference from February 8 to 13 in collaboration with the regional CRVS core group, which is made up of the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Children’s fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Health Organization (WHO), INDEPTH Network, Plan International, the secretariat of the African Symposium on Statistical Development (ASSD), represented by Statistics South Africa, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) which serves as the secretariat of APAI-CRVS.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi, in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast.