New AfDB Statistics Bulletin in the Service of Agricultural and Rural Development in Africa
As part of its communication strategy to inform key stakeholders about progress in executing the Implementation Plan for Africa of the Global Strategy for Improving Agricultural and Rural Statistics, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has released the first edition of a quarterly Global Strategy Implementation Bulletin, produced by the institution’s statistics department.
The maiden edition of the bulletin, titled, “Implementation Plan for Improving Agricultural and Rural Statistics in Africa: 2011-2015” was released on 1 January 2011. It provides an overview, progress made so far and the way forward, since the UN Statistical Commission endorsed the global strategy in February 2010. Africa needs to enhance its statistical capacity to surmount existing and potential obstacles to its agriculture and rural development and seize new opportunities that come its way.
The strategy comprises three pillars, namely:
- The establishment of a minimum set of core data that countries will provide to meet the current and emerging demands,
- The integration of agriculture into the national statistical systems in order to meet policy maker and other data user expectations that the data will be comparable across countries and over time, and
- The foundation that will provide the sustainability of the National Agricultural Statistical System (NASS) through governance and statistical capacity building.
The Bulletin clearly demonstrates that the AfDB is at the center-stage of the global work program on agricultural and rural statistics improvement in Africa. The publication also emphasizes the importance of partnership and synergy with other organizations such as the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The bulletin notes that although the AfDB is charged with responsibility for technical assistance, the interwoven nature of the strategy has invariably resulted in the consolidation of the three components of the implementation plan to include training and research assigned to UNECA and FAO respectively.
On the progress made so far, the bulletin reveals that Africa is the first region to initiate an implementation strategy which also includes a governance mechanism to provide an institutional framework and coordination arrangements, based on the implementation plan endorsed by a conference of African countries and development partners in February 2010. At the 5th International Conference on Agricultural Statistics hosted by Uganda in Kampala in October that year, leading experts from across the world applauded Africa for taking the lead in the strategy’s implementation. Another notable achievement highlighted in the bulletin is the adoption of an initial USD 68.6 million budget for the first phase 2011-2015, and efforts to establish two Trust Funds including the Africa Regional Fund to be managed by the AfDB to support activities in Africa.
The publication outlined three main activities for the immediate future. These include, notably, the finalization of a framework for assessing statistical capacity and needs and developing tools to collect relevant information in selected countries. With the publication of the quarterly bulletin, the Bank, which is also a primary consumer of the statistics it generates in its operations, has further enhanced its contribution to the production and dissemination of development knowledge in Africa.