Growing Demand For Data

By Tione Andsen

Lilongwe, October 24, Mana: United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has said the growing demand for official statistics continues to surpass the pace at which data is produced across all sectors.

UNFPA Country Representative to Malawi, Young Hong said this during official launch of 2018 Population and Housing Census 14 Thematic Reports at Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.

She said partnership between United Nations, including UNFPA, and the National Statistical Office was critical in generating data for evidence based decision making.

Hong added that in 2018, UNFPA together with UN Family such as UNWOMEN and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as well as International Development Partners supported government to conduct a nationwide population and housing census that captured comprehensive key population data at the smallest geographical areas of the country.

Hong said the Census was the largest one ever to be undertaken in the country requiring over 23,000 personnel and over US$ 9 million was raised for this cause.

She said a robust resource mobilization strategy and strong partnerships between the government and key stakeholders including the international donor community and local private sector entities was instrumental to the implementation process.

“Preliminary results of the 2018 Population and Housing Census (PHC) were released in January 2019, just a little over three months’ post-enumeration signifying a record release time for Malawi,” Hong noted. 

The UNFPA Representative attributed to the adoption of new technology, primarily the use of Tablet based Personal Interviews for data collection as well as fully digitalized data analysis process.

She added this new trend, technology based data management, repeated in the release of the main report in May, 2019.

“We are reminded to use data, so we can best allocate resources and prepare targeted development policies. Now, more than ever, we see the importance of such data and analysis on our ability to understand and deal with the most urgent issues in the country,” Development Director, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development of, Lucy Hayes

She said the importance of such data and analysis on our ability to understand and deal with the most urgent issues in the country.

“With a fragile macro-economy, hard choices are coming and the government has a huge task ahead of them. We congratulate the government on the work that is already underway on their ambitious public sector reforms and economic planning,” Hayes pointed out.

She said these thematic reports cover a range of topics that are of great importance to this work and that of donors and NGOs.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development and Public Sector Reforms, Dr Winford Masangala said National Statistical Office (NSO) need to promote usage statistical data and raise awareness on the importance of statistical information.

He said government recognizes the importance of statistics in form evidence based policy making.

The Development partners that supported the 2018 PHC include governments of Germany, Iceland, UK and Norway and private sector, Standard Bank.