The workshop was held in Lusaka, co-organised by SADC and PARIS21 and hosted by the Government of the Republic of Zambia. Around 120 participants attended the meeting. SADC countries participated with representatives, which included both statisticians and policy-makers. The following countries attended the workshop; Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Donors and International agencies sent participants from headquarters and from local offices. Many of the agencies agreed to support some of the plans developed by the country teams during the workshops. Representatives of the private sector, and non-governmental organisations also attended the meeting, as did representatives of Afristat and the East African Statistical Training Centre (EASTC)
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, the Honourable Katele Kalumba, opened the meeting. He urged statisticians to help the cause of evidence based policy making by helping policy makers and politicians develop a taste for statistics. Statistical products should be easy to understand and the results and implications explained fully and simply.
"You can help us, the politicians, save lives if you give us evidence-based statistics. If you give us misplaced, misdirected and poorly designed data, we will fail the people. We may lose elections, but the people, mostly the poor, will certainly lose their lives."
The meeting discussed the progress made in providing the data needs of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers within the region, and in Uganda. South Africa demonstrated a new tool; poverty mapping and two countries described using the CWIQ survey. We heard that EASTC was developing a unit to give countries support in using the CWIQ survey and was looking for experts to work in that unit. Participants discussed sequenced information strategies, and heard about an experience of developing a similar strategy in Mauritania.
A round table of donor agency representatives described the support that could be given to country plans. Several donors had committed substantial financial resources to a Trust Fund, which is held by the World Bank, to support PARIS21 activities. Participating countries and organisations were invited to apply for the funds.
Country teams developed plans for follow-up after the meeting, the common themes and recommendations were;
- User workshops to strengthen links with policy makers and to review priorities.
- Plans to develop strategies for statistics, information and poverty monitoring.
- Human resource development, with requests for assistance with training in web site development, databases, analysis and dissemination practices.
- A common SADC-wide approach to user needs assessments and sequenced information strategies.
- Better co-ordination of donor assistance to countries.
- Greater coherence and less duplication in donor data collection activities, particularly in the areas of HIV/Aids and Health.
- Continuance of PARIS21 methods of working beyond the workshop.
- follow-up meeting, the first within a short period of time, to maintain momentum and share lessons learned.
- Strengthening the SADC Secretariat with local experts to provide support and advice to member states in information strategies and poverty monitoring. The World Bank Trust Fund is to be approached to obtain for funding for two SADC Secretariat staff.