IACS: Tinkering with data for serious lessons

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THE Italian Agency for Cooperation and Development and the Eastern Africa Statistical Training Centre yesterday started a five-day programme to enlighten officials from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and students from the centre with modern statistics knowledge.

The programme came following an agreement signed in May 2016 between the EASTC and AICS for implementation of a cooperation project for capacity building in statistics. In June, this year, EASTC officials visited Rome to finalise implementation of the cooperation project on the ground.

Funded by the AICS, the project intends to support provision of high quality learning opportunities in the field of statistics at the EASTC through the collaboration with the statistics departments of two prestigious Italian universities, namely: La Sapienza University of Rome and the University of Padua which have availed 16 senior professors for the project in Tanzania.

According to the agreement, the first professor from Padua University yesterday kicked off the project with training EASTC students and officials from the NBS on population analysis and projection.

EASTC Rector, Prof Frank Mkumbo, said the programme which will run a strong practical approach was aimed at providing students with competencies in the use of specific software to elaborate and analyse data. He affirmed that the EASTC was ready to provide the needed facilities for the training and will avail full support to make the project a success.

“We are grateful to the Italian government for the support from the Italian Agency for Development Co-operation and the two Italian universities for their initiative to do the training at EASTC,” he said.

Italian ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Roberto Mengoni said quality statistics were essential for all stages of evidence- based decision-making.

“The project we are inaugurating today is indeed aimed at assisting EASTC students to build and strengthen their statistical capacities to enable them produce reliable, timely, consistent and accurate economic, financial, socio-demographic and other data,” he noted.

The head of the Statistics Department at the AICS in Rome and promoter of the project in Tanzania, Dr Simonetta Di Cori, stated that for years, statistics had not been a development priority with a lack of donors’ interest in contributing to steady statistics capacity.

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