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Reference Regional Strategic Framework for Statistical Capacity Building in Africa

Following a review in 200 of the Addis Ababa Plan of Action for Statistical Development in Africa in the 1990s (AAPA), the Committee on Development Information (CODI), the former United Nations Economic Commission for Africa‘s (UNECA) subsidiary body in charge of statistics, at its second session acknowledged that its principles and objectives were and still remain relevant to statistical development in Africa. It nevertheless, observed the slow level of implementation and resolved that a new plan, as proposed in the evaluation report, will not be necessary. Instead, the CODI recommended the preparation of a new framework for statistical development in Africa taking into account full stakeholder participation at all levels, new demands for information, strategies at national, sub-regional and regional levels for enhancing statistical capacity, the plight of countries emerging from war and other crises, and mechanisms of continuous monitoring and evaluation.

In the meantime, the UNECA increasingly recognized, during the year 2004, the critical role of reliable statistics in policy formulation, monitoring and evaluation, especially in addressing data demands for the new development agenda including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRSs), and the New Partnership for Africa‘s Development (NEPAD). Following this recognition and in line with the recommendation of the CODI, the UNECA engaged in the preparation of a strategic framework designed to engage partners in a coordinated statistical development process that would ensure African countries are equipped with statistical systems capable of supporting their economic, political and social development efforts in a sustainable manner. The first draft of this document was presented for comments to the Advisory Board on Statistics in Africa (ABSA) and the first meeting of the Forum on African Statistical Development (FASDEV) in 2004.

Following the comments and observations from the ABSA and the FASDEV, the major sponsors of the latter namely the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS21) Consortium, and the World Bank, decided to contribute to the preparation of a Reference Regional Strategic Framework for Statistical Capacity Building in Africa (RRSF) under the UNECA coordination and in line with the Marrakech Action Plan on Statistics (MAPS). This was decided during a meeting of representatives of the primary sponsors of the FASDEV and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) held in Tunis in 2005.

This Reference Regional Strategic Framework (RRSF) was designed to improve development and governance by strengthening national statistical systems in Africa. The goal of the framework is to raise societal awareness of the role of statistical information, increase user satisfaction by enhancing the quality and usability of statistical information, promote greater use of statistical information and achieve synergy, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability in statistical information systems.

Following its successful design, the RRSF was adopted and further endorsed by the Heads of National Statistical Offices (NSOs) during the FASDEV and the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development held in Addis Ababa in February 2006 and April 2007 respectively.

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