ECA Deputy Chief Ms. Giovanie Biha calls out for the need of sound statistics in the restructuring of Africa
In the press release from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), dated Wednesday, 27th of July, Ms. Giovanie Biha, ECA Deputy Executive Secretary, argued that sound statistics are essential to help African countries to analyse what is really happening on the continent, and to better plan policies to improve people’s lives.
According to the press release, the Deputy Executive Secretary stressed that there are still a large data gap that hinders policy makers from making informed decisions and that ECA stands ready to provide support to members’ states in the fields of statistics.
It is recalled that during her two-day mission to Burundi, Ms. Biha discussed these matters and others with Mr. Serges Ndayiragije, Minister of Planning and Governance and Mr. Deo-Guide Rurema, Minister of Agriculture of Burundi. Speaking about the crucial need for countries to produce their own high quality statistical data, the Burundian Minister of Planning told Biha that the Council of Ministers in his country recommends citing exclusively the Burundi Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (ISTEEBU) as the source of reference for national data.
The press release made it known that the discussion of Burundi Country profile in Bujumbura was attended by approximately 40 people, including representatives of government, the private sector, international institutions and UN agencies, civil society organisations and the media. The Burundi Country Profile focuses on analysing the causes of low agricultural productivity. In the face of a rapidly growing population, agricultural production per capita has decreased by 28 percent since 1982.
According to ECA, as reported, erosion, heavy land pressure, the impact of climate change, conflicts over land ownership and the lack of access to modern farming inputs are the main obstacles to agricultural modernization. ECA country profiles provide periodic economic and social assessments with a view to making recommendations to African governments and regional organizations
In a separate bilateral meeting, the Burundian Minister of Agriculture expressed his appreciation for the work done by ECA on the Country profile and that the recently published Country Profile of Burundi will be a useful reference document.
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) reported that Mr. Andrew Mold, the Acting Director of the ECA Sub-Regional Office for Eastern Africa, said that while the economy has proven itself to be quite resilient, Burundi’s major challenge remains the lack of structural transformation. The agricultural sector is still the major employer in the country and the level of urbanization – with just 12 percent of the population living in urban areas – is the lowest in Africa. At the same time, investment levels and inflows of foreign direct investment are weaker than in neighbouring countries. These structural issues need to be addressed if the country is to meet its ambitious developmental targets.
Correspondent: Ridwan A. Olayiwola