The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), in partnership with the UK Office of National Statistics (UK-ONS), organized a workshop on good practices in digital censuses.
The workshop was organized by the Statistical Service to allow participants to have extensive access to officials involved in Ghana’s census, deepen their knowledge of Ghanaian lessons and build wider relationships for future collaboration.
The Minister of Information, Mr. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, in a speech read on his behalf by his Deputy, Ms. Fatimatu Abubakar, highlighted the innovations and successes of Ghana’s first digital census that sparked international interest and lessons drawn from the Ghanaian experience.
“The conduct of Ghana’s first digital census and the successful release of the results within 44 days of fielding has sparked international interest in lessons learned from the implementation of Ghana’s Population and Housing Census (PHC). 2021,” he said.
“In addition to sharing statistics, engaging with data users, and advocating for the use of data for decision-making. The objectives of the PHC 2021 dissemination strategy also include conducting intercensal activities supported for the continuity and maintenance of public awareness of the importance of the census and the sharing of lessons learned from the PHC 2021 with the global community,” added Mr. Nkrumah.
The minister also spoke about the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic to carry out a population census. He said the Statistical Service was able to overcome these challenges with the support of government and key stakeholders.
Government statistician, Prof. Samuel Kobina Annim shared in his address his insights on the secrets of census success in Ghana.
These included the use of quantitative indicators for planning, monitoring processes and evaluating results; inclusion and diversity at all levels; constantly redefining and questioning the process; and do not overlook the intangible factors.
Dr. William Muhwava, Chief of the Demographic and Social Statistics Section of the African Center for Statistics, commended Ghana for being the only country in the sub-region to have conducted a census in 2021 when other countries were planning to have their census in 2021 delayed or postponed their census indefinitely.
“With fewer than 20 censuses out of the 54 to be conducted between 2015 and 2024, there are several challenges to overcome,” he said.
“It created the need for alternative approaches; the use of technology and South-South cooperation, which is one of the reasons why the census workshop is organized in Accra. It is important that Ghana is a good example to learn from.
The Head of Human Development at the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Mrs Enyonam Azumah, also delivered an address on behalf of the British High Commissioner, emphasizing the importance of carrying out censuses, using technology and South-South cooperation.
More than 70 officials from 17 countries participated in the workshop which was to take place from February 21-25 in Accra. The sessions will focus on building the capacity of national statistical officers to use technology in digital censuses to improve the quality, efficiency and timeliness of results. There will be sessions on three of the four days with presentations from Ghana Statistical Service officials, sharing lessons learned from the recent census implementation.