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Business News of Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Source: GNA

Ghana’s digital census scores international praise - Oppong-Nkrumah

Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, Information Minister Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, Information Minister

Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the Minister of Information, says international organisations have hailed Ghana’s first digital 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC).

Mr Nkrumah said the successful release of the results within 44 days of exiting the field had received international interest in the lessons learned from the implementation of the 2021 PHC.

“In addition to sharing statistics, engaging with data users and advocating for data uptake for decision-making, the objectives of the 2021 PHC dissemination strategy includes conducting sustained intercensal activities for continuity and maintain public awareness of the importance of the census and sharing lessons learned from the 2021 PHC with the global community,” he said.

This was in a speech read by Ms Fatimatu Abubakar, the Deputy Minister of Information on behalf of the Minister on Monday in Accra at a Census Workshop on the theme: “Good Practice in Digital Censuses.”

The workshop, which seeks to provide the platform for sharing valuable lessons from the 2021 PHC and to explore the use of new technologies to improve data collection, brought together over 70 experts from 17 countries, including the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Office of National Statistics.

The UNFPA officials in July 2021 expressed satisfaction about the 2021 PHC during a visit to selected centres in Osu and Adabraka to monitor the exercise, which started on Monday, June 28, 2021.

Mr Niyi Ojuolape, the UNFPA Country Representative, said: “From what we have seen during our monitoring exercise, the processes were going on well and we hope it will continue.”

Mr Nkrumah said Ghana was one of the few countries that successfully conducted the census during COVID-19 pandemic due to the integration of technology such as virtual engagements and automation of processes, and strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols.

He said some countries had delayed theirs because of the pandemic as it created more operational challenges, such as ensuring public confidence and procuring relevant PPEs.

“There are other challenges associated with delaying censuses, particularly around financing and resourcing the census, which the Ghana Statistical Service faced but successfully overcame with government support, development of partnerships and leveraging of resources, “he said.

Despite the challenges, the Minister said censuses must be conducted because they provided fundamental information for monitoring the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Agenda 2063 and the national development agendas.

That, he explained was important because censuses provided consistent and timely information disaggregated for small population groups and small geographies and was vital to the “leave no one behind agenda” for the exercise.

He said the Ghana Statistical Service would release the final five volumes of the General Report of the 2021 PHC this week, saying “we will have access to myriad indicators from all modules of the census questions for decision-making.

Ms Enyonam Azumah, Team leader for Human Development, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, said Population and Housing Censuses were one of the most complex and costly statistical operations. 

The introduction of technology, she stated, such as collection on an electronic device was innovative with benefits to the timeliness and quality of the information collected.

Touching on partnership, she said the recent Strategic Vision set out by the UK Foreign Secretary reiterated the UK’s commitment to building a stronger network of technology and the use of innovative digital approaches to accelerate development outcomes.

The provisional figures from the 2021 PHC show that there are 30.8 million people in Ghana, compared to 24.7 million people recorded in the 2010 census, the Ghana Statistical Service announced.

The  2021  PHC  counted and collected detailed information on all persons that spent the Census Night, that is  Sunday  27th  June  2021,  in the country.

The initial enumeration period was from June 27 to July 11, 2021, with a mop-up period, first for one week and subsequently extending it to August 15 in some areas with challenges.

Prior to the Census Night, the listing of structures took place between 13th and 25th June 2021. Structures listed were completed buildings, uncompleted buildings at various levels of completion above window level and unconventional structures such as metal containers, and kiosks.

The census is expected to provide important information to support the evidence-based implementation of the national development agenda and support the tracking of achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063 of the African Union.