Resulting from an agreement between the governments of Brazil, Cape Verde and Senegal, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the "Reference Centers in Electronic Census Data Collection in Africa" project is a platform for the exchange of experiences and the joint construction of innovative approaches with the aim of strengthening the continent's statistical institutes. Based on the successful experience of the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) in the implementation and operation of digital censuses in Brazil, the project aims to train the statistical institutes of Cape Verde and Senegal to act as multipliers of the methodology, promoting and facilitating the use of census data collection technologies by other interested African countries.
The demographic census is a central instrument to support the formulation and monitoring of a country's public policies. The production of better quality and timely data and indicators is essential for proposing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating public policies and development projects more suited to local realities. One of the challenges faced by the African Union to achieve the goals of the global "Agenda 2030" and the "Africa 2063 Agenda" is to promote a culture of evidence-based public policies and decision-making processes, which requires the availability and use of up-to-date information and information with a higher level of reliability. To this end, it is essential to invest in the capabilities of national statistical institutes, as well as to promote the adoption of geospatial information systems for the collection, analysis, production and dissemination of disaggregated data.
Based on the experience of Brazil (which in 2010 carried out the first census of population and digital housing in the world), this South-South cooperation project, initiated in 2016, aims at enabling African institutions to be empowered to train interested in using the census data collection methodology. For this project, partnerships were established with the national statistical institutes of Cape Verde and Senegal, two countries that had already carried out their last population censuses with the use of electronic data collection technology, with the support of IBGE. The migration of the traditional process of collecting census data through paper questionnaires to the digital format entails, among other benefits, substantial gains in terms of time and reliability, increasing the possibilities of monitoring and disseminating data in a timely manner.
The National Institute of Statistics (INE) of Cape Verde and the Agence Nationale de la Statistique et de la Démographie (ANSD) of Senegal were trained in the techniques developed and used by the IBGE in the Brazilian population and agricultural censuses, in order to act as centers of digital censuses on the African continent. In order to cooperate with similar institutes from other countries, the two institutions learned about the whole process developed in Brazil for the adoption of the electronic census, as well as the impacts of such a change on IBGE operations. Sharing this experience enables African countries to make the necessary adaptations of the methodology to local institutional, territorial and socio-cultural realities, including their specificities in terms of existing demands and resources.
With a training plan jointly developed by all partners in the project, some 50 African technicians were trained at the end of 2017 to plan and implement electronic census operations. The contents of the training covered topics such as: South-South cooperation; pre-census planning; the creation of questionnaires; the electronic programming of the collection devices; dissemination and dissemination of results; and the awareness of the population about the importance of the census. The training also included practical workshops to carry out simulation exercises. Expected for 2018, the final phase of the project refers to the transfer of the knowledge acquired by INE and ANSD, and includes the supervision of IBGE during the first training that each Reference Center will do for the interested countries.
The project also calls for the mobilization of partners to finance the acquisition of mobile data collection devices, which will be shared in a rotating way with interested countries. The Reference Centers are expected to promote the establishment of complementary technical and scientific cooperation initiatives to carry out digital censuses, benefiting at least 18 African countries that anticipate censuses in the coming years. The project also aims at structuring a third reference center in Africa, this time in an Anglophone country (which will still be defined).
Supported by: Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
Implementing agency: Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE)
Luciana Martins Prazeres,
Analyst, Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE)