Poor data on civil registration affecting Africa’s development – AU

Prof. Victor Harrison
Prof. Victor Harrison

THE Africa Union (AU) says poor data on civil registration is a major factor affecting development agenda on the continent.

AU Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Prof. Victor Harrison, said this on Monday at the beginning of the fifth Conference of African Ministers Responsible for Civil Registration in Lusaka, Zambia.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the conference ends on Oct. 18.

“Though civil registration and vital statistics help in planning and support national development, few countries maintain and keep adequate data on births, marriages and even deaths of citizens,” he said.

The Conference is being organised by the African Union Commission in collaboration with the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Development Bank (AfDB), and Government of the Zambia.

Harrison identified the use of technology and innovation as the way to close identity gap across the continent starting with civil registration.

“The continent is experiencing a technological revolution with an upsurge in the use of mobile devices, social media, information and communication technologies and big data, creating new channels for human interactions, and economic opportunities.

“However, lack of formal and robust identification; and poor Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) on the continent has contributed to marginalisation and exclusion of many citizens.

“At the continental level, digital transformation is positioned among the top priorities of African Union Agenda 2063 and UN’s 2030 SDGs Agenda.

“The African Union Commission in collaboration with UNECA, AfDB, RECS, World Bank and other partners have developed a comprehensive digital transformation strategy for Africa to harness the full benefits of digital transformation.

“One of the specific objectives of this strategy is to ensure that universal legal identity as part of the civil registration system is achieved by the year 2030,” he said.

The AU commissioner also advised member states to ratify the AU Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data protection to ensure confidentiality of data banks.

Also, the Director of the African Centre for Statistics at the ECA, Mr Oliver Chinganya, said a complete data on civil registration was central to protecting human rights and reducing inequalities on the continent.

“The civil registry provides individuals with legal documents required to secure their identities, nationalities, civil rights and access to social services.

“A well-functioning CRVS system is crucial for creating inclusive societies, ensuring proper delivery of public services and protecting basic human rights.

“For example, the birth registration certificate, as a legal document and proof of age, helps to prevent violations of child rights, including child marriage, child labour and trafficking, and the use of child soldiers in conflict zones,’’ he said.

NAN reports that an experts meeting is slated for between Oct. 14 and Oct. 16, at the venue of the conference during which data journalism training on the use of public health data will hold in collaboration with Bloomberg and Vial Strategies. (NAN)

– Oct 14, 2019 @ 16:05 GMT |

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