The AU is Africa’s premier institution and principal organization for the promotion of accelerated socio-economic, political and cultural integration of the continent. It is based on the common vision of a united and strong Africa and on the need to build a partnership between governments and all segments of civil society in order to strengthen solidarity and cohesion amongst the peoples of Africa. As a continental organization it focuses on the promotion of peace, security and stability on the continent as a prerequisite for the implementation of the development and integration agenda of the Union. The AU Commission provides the Secretariat to the AU.
Since the adoption of the Abuja Treaty in 1991, African Leaders have committed themselves to establish, via an African common market, the African Economic Community to increase economic self-sufficiency and promote self-sustaining development within the continent. Monitoring the implementation of policies and programs to attain these objectives requires harmonized and reliable statistics. However in Africa, there is a large gap in the availability of such quality data and in the funding required for statistical surveys, data analysis and publication. In order to overcome these difficulties the AU Executive Council mandated the AUC to elaborate in collaboration with relevant partners an African Charter on Statistics. The Charter was developed by members of the African Statistical System under the leadership of the AU to serve as a legal instrument to regulate statistical activities and to serve as a tool for advocacy and development of statistics in Africa. It was adopted by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU in February 2009 and it stands as a code of professional ethics and best practices for the exercise of the profession of statistician in Africa. The Charter also beckons African policy makers to base the formulation, monitoring and evaluation of policies on facts observed. Statistics should be considered as an essential public asset in any decision-making process”.
Today, 20 Countries have signed the Charter and only one has ratified. The AUC has also developed strategy to fast-track the ratification process and is working towards the full implementation of the NSS Peer Review Mechanism currently run by PARIS21. The Commission intends to take the leadership for the implementation of this activities starting from 2011 and, together with the World Bank, is developing guidelines for the implementation of the African Charter on Statistics. In July 2009, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in Sirte, Libya, July 2009, mandated the African Union Commission (AUC) in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and members of African Statistics System has produced he strategy for the harmonization of statistics in Africa (SHaSA) as a mean to respond to the challenges that have hampered statistics development and harmonisation as well as supports the African integration agenda through enhanced coordination and collaboration with National statistics offices, Regional and continental statistics organization as well as development partners. SHaSA was therefore, developed in July 2010 by the Assembly.
Besides, the AUC—together with United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), the UNECA and the AfDB—is working on the establishment of AfricaInfo Database to respond to data and statistical needs of the African Union, its organs, its Member States as well as all interested actors/parties across Africa. It will provide tools for the monitoring of commitments made by governments in the implementation of national, regional and continental decisions and policies.
The current vision of the AU is to strengthen the capacity of AUSTAT to enable it carry out the mission of promoting statistical harmonization in Africa and providing the African Union with comparable statistical quality information that it needs to monitor its integration program. The current vision of the AU is to strengthen the capacity of AUSTAT to enable it carry out this mission by transforming it into an autonomous statistics institution like EUROSTAT, charged with promoting statistical harmonization in Africa and providing the African Union with comparable statistical quality information hat it needs to monitor its integration program. This body would be very useful to accompany the AU in the conduct of the African integration and development process.
The objectives of STATAFRIC will be to coordinate the implementation of the African Charter on Statistics - after its final adoption by heads of states - and ensure the effective functioning of the African Statistics System so that the necessary harmonized and reliable statistics are in place and available to all for the effective monitoring of African integration policies at continental level. The principal activities of STATAFRIC will be to help implement the African Charter on Statistics and conduct advocacy in favour of statistics at all levels. It will seek to produce comparable statistics for the elaboration, monitoring and evaluation of the polices and programmes of the African Union and the RECs (Regional Economic Communities) within the framework of the implementation of the integration process, and coordinate activities in the area of statistics in the Continent.
It will support the building of institutional and operational capacities in the African Statistics System through training, seminars, advocacy and workshops. It will also contribute to the mobilization of funding for the development of statistics throughout the continent. It will operate in all 53 African Countries and publish statistical databases and a series of compendiums annually.
Received October 2010