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Ghana Statistical Service Outdoors Statistics Bank to Support Policymaking

GSS, Regional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana, Statistics Denmark, and the Denmark Embassy collaborated to develop the Statsbank and hackathon.

Speaking on the relevance of the StatsBank, Professor Samuel Kobina Annim, the Government Statistician, said: “The only way we can help policymakers solve the challenges we have is to give them access to multiple data sources.”

He explained that over time, national statistical offices in the global south had heavily relied on internationally driven statistics by different bilateral and multilateral organisations.

That, he said led to data being produced based on some economic indices, including Gross Domestic Product (GPD), and consumer and producer price indexes, with little focus on the complex nature of national problems.

The Government Statistician noted that: “No single data source can help us solve the problems that we face. It’s now compelling for all of us to think about bringing together data sets to help solve the complex challenges that we have.”

He said it was for that reason that the Statistics Bank had been built to integrate different data sets to guide policy decisions, while deemphasising data aggregates.

“Anytime you talk about any statistic, it’s about what’s happening at the national, regional and district level. This is not helping the cause, especially in the context of leave no one behind,” Prof Annim said.

He said the Service took cognisance of the high sensitivity characterising disaggregated data and had taken proactive measures to protect the privacy and confidentially of information from people and institutions.

“Once you’re going below the district level and 100 by 100 metre or 1,000 by 1,000m data, we need to be careful that we have anonymised the data to avoid the incidence where somebody can combine ‘x’ number of variables to identify a particular individual,” he said.

He extended invitation to educational institutions to collaborate with the Service to put together resources and have a data repository as a baseline to build a pipeline between data from GSS and what was in the universities.

In her speech, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana (UG), Prof Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, said the objectives of the StatsBank platform and the hackathon competition were essential for the holistic development of students.

She said the objectives on the initiatives resonated with her goal of training students “to be critical thinkers, technologically adept, humane, culturally sensitive, and ready to provide leadership for the country and the continent.”

She also said the hackathon would help students to raise awareness about the StatsBank, while creating avenues and opportunities for collaboration, mentorship, and team building in their academic and career fields.

Ms Vibeke Sandholm Pedersen, the Deputy Head of Mission and Cooperation at the Denmark Embassy, said: “Easy access to statistical data can guide decision makers, and the public to make decisions on an informed basis, and ensure transparency and accountability, which is of great importance in our democracy.”

Source : Modern Ghana