Rwanda’s economy is growing fast because policies and reforms are developed on evidence-based data, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) deputy country representative, Daniel Alemu, has said.
Alemu, who was speaking during the celebrations to mark African Statistics Day in Kigali, yesterday, said since the establishment of the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR), a number of critical surveys and research have supported the use of statistics in the planning process.
“Over the past 10 years, data has guided evidence-based decision-making of policies to facilitate development, social planning and allocation of resources,” Alemu said.
The day was organised under the theme, “Better data for better lives; harnessing modern technologies to enhance national statistics systems.”
Alemu, who pledged more commitment toward Rwanda’s development of statistical solutions, said domestication of statistical indicators would further ease Rwanda’s transition from Millennium Development Goals toward the new UN Sustainable Development Goals.
“We will continue to support the process of domestication of indicators which are necessary for the sustainable development goals. Specifically, for Rwanda, a joint programme is already in place and key areas have been identified to encourage long-term goals,” he added.
This year’s African Statistics Day also marks 10 years since NISR was established.
NISR not resting on laurels
Yusuf Murangwa, the director-general of NISR, explained that despite the milestone, the institution is not complacent.
“Statistics is like rocket science; not all people can understand what every statistic means. However, despite such challenges, we are up to the task of building systems, especially those that will support our transition into the Sustainable Development Goals,” Murangwa said.
He commended the government for its support in bridging data gaps and dissemination of information.
“We did not achieve this alone, our government is at the fore. Statistics have been given the autonomy they deserve and when NISR takes a stand, it is difficult to force change. This support comes with proof of professionalism,” he added.
On the African continent, Rwanda ranks third after Mauritius and Egypt in statistical capacity
And, for the last decade, Rwanda’s score improved from 63 per cent to 73.3 per cent, according to the World Bank.
While presenting the progress of the statistics body, Dominic Habimana, from NISR, highlighted the purpose of statistics in different planning processes.
“The first national demographic survey led to tangible results that were implemented accordingly, while the second one consolidated the achievements of the first survey. We now have updated maps, district profiles, agriculture statistics as well as regular updates on economic progress,” he said.
Meanwhile, during the closure of the event, students from 10 universities across the country who participated in infographic competitions were awarded mobile phones, and computers for their excellent graphical display of statistics for ordinary understanding.