By Tione Andsen, MANA
Data generated by National Statistical Office (NSO) plays a very important role in helping shape the country’s policies and planning programmes and thus government has committed to ensuring that NSO receives adequate funding to continue producing evidence-based data.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development and Public Sector Reforms, Dr Winford Masanjala said this during official launch of 2018 Population and Housing Census 14 Thematic Reports at Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.
Masanjala said providing adequate funding to NSO would help NSO to continue developing other thematic areas, which are crucial to the development process of the country.
“The 2018 PHC revealed that the country has young populations which need to be included in the development process of the country,” he said.
“We need to have a proper data which will enable the country to investment in keys areas of the development of the country in order to help them.”
He commended all development partners for providing support in the development of 14 of the 17 thematic areas.
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Country Representative to Malawi, Young Hong said UNFPA’s work in the country continues to support the government’s efforts towards creation of integrated and coordinated data management.
“We strongly believe such a system plan should be fully aligned with the national vision for E-government — fully backed by e-governance process and systems in order to ensure cost effective and sustainable integrated data management between key ministries, agencies and NSO and institutionalize use of data through the business process in the public sector,” she said.
Hong added that the global big data market size has grown in 2020 at US$138.9 billion and would grow to US$229.4 billion by 2025.
She noted that statistics and data are becoming an industry, generating millions of jobs globally.
The strategy, with a clear set of prioritized investment in the National Statistical System development, is critical to set a foundation for digital economy in which many young Malawians would be able to participate actively.
Hong stated that data is a product to be consumed not only by the government but the private sector as well as by all citizens through economic and social activities.
She said role of NSO in this digital era, should be fully recognized and adequate investment to equip the NSO would be necessary.
Hong said UNFPA and UN remains committed to supporting NSO and the government in its efforts to make quality data available for planning and decision making by all in the country.
Commonwealth Development Director-Foreign, Lucy Hayes said UK is proud supporter of the 2018 Census, along with the US, Norway, Iceland, Ireland, GIZ and UN agencies.
“We have been grateful to UNFPA for their continued role in coordinating donor investments and their support to NSO. We are all driven by a shared ambition to use data to drive government policy and to improve the lives of everybody in the country” she said
Hayes said the investments want to support NSO to develop and improve their statistics, guided by their own priorities.
Commissioner of Statistics, Mercy Kanyuka said the 2018 PHC was unique in the sense that digital technology was applied in gathering data.
She said the process helped NSO to collect satellite imaginaries which have been developed into maps covering the whole country.