African countries urged to adopt modern means of data collection

StatisticsDr Baah Wadie, Deputy Government Statistician, has called on African countries to desist from the use of traditional method of data collection as it is not only paper based, but also costly, time consuming and most dangerously prone to errors.

He has therefore urged African countries to endeavour to take advantage of modern technology to improve on their mode of data collection, and the dissemination of timely and high quality data.

Dr Wadie said this on Wednesday during the celebration of the African Statistics Day, which brought together statisticians in the country and was on the theme “Better Data for National Lives: Harnessing Modern Technology to enhance National Statistical System”.

He extolled the importance of high quality data as it enables policymakers to formulate, monitor and evaluate policies in order to raise the living standards of their people.

“New technologies and strengthened national statistical systems enable the development of informed policies and allow decision makers to take better, evidence-based decisions that positively impact on people’s welfare and eventually results in better lives,” he added.

He lauded African counties for adopting the use of the geo-spatial technology as it had proved to be an effective tool for conducting census and survey, because it had desirable features with regards to data collection, storage, processing timeliness, coverage and dissemination.

“Owing to the geographic nature of most census data, satellite imagery and maps are enhancing the methodology for conducting censuses and surveys in data collection and dissemination,” he said.

He intimated that the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) had since 2000 adopted the use of emerging technologies in their data collection in an effort to improve on its operations.

He noted that since the 2000 Population and Housing Census, the Service had scanners to capture data from censuses and surveys in its mapping operations.

He said the GSS had also started using hand-held devices known as Computer Assisted Personal Interviews (CAPI) in its data collection and had decided to use the technology to collect and process the 2020 Population and Housing Data.

Dr Wadie indicated that as part of the on-going institutional reform programme of the Ghana Statistical Service, some staff of the GSS had been integrated into the MMDAs to handle the Ghana Statistics Development Project.

He said the report of the Phase One of the Integrated Business Establishment Survey (IBES) and the Ghana Family Life Health Survey which was conducted in 2015 had been prepared and would be published soon.

“Field work for the Phase Two of IBES has commenced and is expected to be completed in January 2016,” he added.

He said such surveys were meant to provide up-to-date data for evidence-based decision making by Government, the private sector, the academia, among others.

Dr Joseph Kwadwo Asenso, Head of Energy, Oil and Gas Unit of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, noted that Ghana had over the years demonstrated its commitment to the GSS by providing it with the resources for the implementation of statistical activities such as conduct of sample surveys and censuses.

“As part of Government’s effort to ensure reliable data from the agricultural sector, Ghana has released some funds for the conduct of agricultural census to help in the provision of current data for the rebasing of the country’s Gross Domestic Product,” he added.

Source: GNA

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