Rwanda yesterday joined the rest of the world in celebrating World Population Week.
This year’s theme: “Everyone Counts”, puts emphasis on the role of data collection and analysis in the process of planning and development.
According to John Rwangombwa, the Finance Minister, the week will feature a variety of activities such as a secondary school debate on access to contraceptives among the youth, and discussions on how the country collects, analyses and disseminates data for effective planning.
“Some of the activities will be conducted at the national level while others will be held at decentralized level,” he said.
The Minister added that, the Vision 2020 objective of transforming Rwanda into a middle-income nation in which people are healthier, educated and more prosperous, cannot be achieved quickly and regularly monitored without using quality statistics in designing appropriate development policies.
Rwangombwa underscored that data for development plays a major role in monitoring progress, assessing and realigning plans and strategies, and conducting effective advocacy.
“The World Population Week is marked at the time we are celebrating 16 years of liberation, therefore it is very important for us to look back and see if our country is progressing in terms of social development,” he noted.
He stressed that every country counts its people, stressing that the numbers tell decision-makers about current and future needs.
“With the world’s attention focused on achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, the availability of consistent and comparable statistical information has become even more crucial”, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, the UNFPA Executive Director is quoted in a statement as saying.
According to Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of United Nations, to be counted is to become visible, this is especially important for women and young people.
This is annual event was established in 1989 and endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly as an opportunity to build a better awareness of population dynamics and their relation to social and economic development.