Remarks at the Official Launch of the NSDS for Namibia by Tom K. Alweendo MP at Hilton Hotel, Windhoek, 30 October 2017

REMARKS AT THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF THE NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF STATISTICS FOR NAMIBIA
BY TOM K ALWEENDO, MP HILTON HOTEL, WINDHOEK 30 OCTOBER 2017

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me at the outset start by congratulating the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) for organising today’s event. An important aspect of our development planning process is the need for high quality and timely delivered statistical data. Reliable statistics are a crucial prerequisite for evidence-based planning and policy formulation; at both national and local levels.

Given our rapidly changing world, the production of comprehensive, high-quality and accessible statistical information in an age where our data users have increased expectations, there is a need to have a balanced, sustainable, and cohesive national strategy to ensure the continuity of our development agenda.

While it is important to match the pace of change and new developments in data management, doing so also represents new challenges for the National Statistics System in Namibia such as budget constraints, big data management or the consolidation and compilation of data across multiple sources.

For the implementation of our national development plans it is very important to have ready access to statistical data in order to proactively respond to pressing matters. Our Fifth National Development Plan (NDP5) emphasises the importance of having comprehensive statistics that are accurate, readily accessible and usable to guide the monitoring and evaluation of NDP5 and consecutive national plans.

It is said that a good plan is only as good as its implementation – however without properly planning and monitoring its implementation, it is just as good as not having a plan at all. Evidence-based monitoring and evaluation is therefore a cornerstone of our development planning and implementation.

The implementation of NDP5 will take on a new multi-stakeholder approach. It will emphasise the importance of a results-based framework that focuses on the monitoring and evaluation of goals, targets, and outcomes. This approach will require detailed and relevant statistics as key inputs. It will also require all line ministries to align their strategic plans with NDP5 and key statistics will help to ensure coherency in our monitoring and evaluation framework to improve the culture of reporting by line ministries.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As the central repository of statistics produced in Namibia, the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) has filled our statistics gap and facilitated a deeper analysis of challenges which enabled us to develop evidence-based development plans and policies.

Although statistical information and the coordination of the National Statistics System in Namibia was centralised with the creation of the NSA in 2011, there are still a number of line ministries in the National Statistics System with dedicated statistics units involved in the production and dissemination of data.

Considering the various stakeholders involved in the production of statistics, there exists thus a need to institute an effective coordination mechanism to promote collaboration and efficiency amongst the various statistics stakeholders in order to improve the quality of statistics that we can deliver.

Strengthening the coordination of the National Statistical System in line with international standards and frameworks such as the United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics, the African Charter of Statistics and the Revised Strategy for the Harmonization of Statistics in Africa is important. This will become essential in our production of relevant, reliable, comparable and high-quality statistics to respond to new realities.

The National Strategy for the Development of Statistics will be a national strategy that will guide the development of statistics in Namibia, as well as the coordination of the entire National Statistics System. The strategy is aimed at incorporating statistics into the national policy and planning process, responding to data challenges and building statistical capacity across the “statistical value chain”.

Importantly, the strategy is also aimed at delivering a country-led data revolution which will deal with: capacity development and the modernisation of statistical systems; big data management; open data; privacy protection; development indicator frameworks; data for policy design and implementation; data for accountability; and data for early warning indicators and subsequent emergency response.

The development process for a country-specific National Strategy for the Development of Statistics will be stakeholder-driven and will use a sectoral bottom-up approach, which will ensure ownership and a responsive strategy to the producer’s and end-users of statistics in Namibia. This approach will also make it possible to build overall statistical capacity across the entire National Statistical System.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Access to information is a precondition for stakeholder involvement in economic and political development. It improves participatory democracy and promotes good governance. Without access to high quality statistical information, or a responsive statistical system staffed with a trained and capable workforce, our results-based framework will fall short of achieving its intended objectives.

Government remains committed to providing the necessary frameworks, infrastructure and support to improve the National Statistics System. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the UN System for being at the forefront of this process, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and PARIS21 for providing technical assistance and funding towards the design of the national strategy.

As a country we must start to make strides in building overall national statistical capacity for data collection, management and the usage of statistical information. Policymaking requires timely statistical information. It is difficult to base economic policy decisions on statistical data that is several years old. Therefore, it is very important to improve the timeliness of some key statistical indicators. It is now my distinct pleasure to officially launch the development process of the National Strategy for the Development of Statistics.

I thank you.