Presentation of the PRCS IV Project 

ENSEA signed on 18 July 2016 a Memorandum of Understanding with one of its institutional partners, the African Development Bank (AfDB), acting in its capacity as administrator of the Multi-country Statistical Capacity Building Programme (PCRS IV) for results-based  Management as far as development is concerned.

The Statistical Capacity Building Programme is a response to the need to address the challenges of providing accurate and reliable statistics in Africa and mobilizing financial partners. Through capacity building of statistical institutions, this programme covers all 54 regional member countries.

It provides technical assistance and training while investing in the capacity of the national statistical systems of participating Regional Member Countries (RMCs).

Beneficiaries include producers and users of official statistics, including national statistical agencies, national policy makers, businesses and investors, researchers and analysts, citizens of RMCs, Sub-Regional Organisations (SROs) and Statistical Training Centres (STCs).

The program contributes to the development of more effective statistical systems that meet the data needs for national development in member countries, to serve as a basis for achieving sustainable development goals and to facilitate greater effectiveness of Bank operations in member countries. The programme has five distinct but closely related components:

  • Improving economic statistics;
  • Improving social statistics;
  • Improving Data Production, Management and Dissemination – Information Highway in Africa;
  • Strategic planning, systems development, coordination and training;
  • Programme management and implementation.

The activities undertaken by ENSEA within the framework of the Programme relate to the Strategic Planning, Systems Development, Coordination and Training component.

A quick diagnosis of the state of human resources in National Statistical Services (NSS) in Africa reveals that the main problems are the generally low number of adequately trained staff in statistics and the limited opportunities for retraining of statisticians and non-statisticians. Supporting Statistical Training Centres, which face difficulties in mobilising resources, is therefore a key issue in addressing these problems.

The support provided by the African Development Bank (ADB) is part of this support and should ultimately improve the quality and quantity of statistical production in African NSS.

In general, the objective of the ENSEA project, in phase IV of the PRCS, is “to contribute to strengthening the skills of human resources available to African NSS”.

In addition, it will specifically aim to

  • Develop the skills of the staff of National Statistical Institutes and sectoral statistical services;
  • Support the training of young African statisticians;
  • Consolidate the performance of lecturers and administrative staff.

Main activities and expected results

During phase IV of the PRCS, ENSEA actions are based on the three (3) activities presented above:

Activity 1 : Training of National Statistical Officers

The importance of having reliable and quality statistics for the formulation and monitoring of economic policies is no longer in question. Unfortunately, despite the efforts made, there is a lack of quality and quantity of human resources in Africa. Apart from the National Statistical Institutes (NSIs), which are generally well staffed, other statistical services that play an important role are experiencing enormous difficulties in producing and analysing statistics due to the small number of statisticians. These include most of the sectoral statistical services, such as those in charge of agriculture or education.

In four sectors (education, agriculture, local economy and regional integration), ENSEA lecturers have developed a certain expertise which is now used to conduct studies for international organisations. These include,

  • for education statistics, by Sika Lazare and Mosso Rosine;
  • for agriculture statistics, Kouadjo Jean Marc and Nayo Ankouvi
  • for local economy, Kouadio Kouassi Hugues
  • and for regional integration, Esso Loesse Jacques and Fé Doukouré Charles;

All of them are lecturers-researchers at ENSEA and their CVs are available on the institution’s website. This expertise can be shared with National Statistical Institutes and sectoral statistical services. ENSEA aims to offer training modules to build the capacities of statisticians in these services as well as those of their non-statistician colleagues to improve statistical production and analysis. Each sub-regional training seminar will involve seventeen (17) auditors from the sub-region including five (5) Ivorians and will be organised in Abidjan.

Expected Results :

  • Four (4) sub-regional training seminars are organised in the areas of education statistics, agricultural statistics, local economic analysis and regional integration statistics;
  • 70 experts from the sub-region are trained at ENSEA in the areas of education statistics, agricultural statistics, local economic analysis and regional integration statistics.

Activity 2 :  Support for the training of young African statisticians

Technical and technological changes have greatly affected education systems, including statistical training. A permanent challenge faced by the SFCs is to remain in phase with these changes to maintain the quality of the graduates trained, who must remain operational and competitive. In this sense, the actions concerned are based on three points :

  • Maintaining academic surveys: This type of operation introduces students to the difficulties of data collection and to new developments in the practice of statistical surveys, such as the use of PDAs or tablets and the development of cartographic information systems. The databases resulting from these surveys can be used to introduce students to research, particularly during dissertations and internships. The implementation of these surveys requires the use of reprographic equipment  to allow for a significant number of questionnaires to be printed.
  • The equipment of a computer room: Over the years, computers have become an essential element in research and training. In economics and statistics, this is all the more essential as the computer makes it possible to process complex quantitative analyses in a short time. The ADB’s support has made it possible to equip a machine room. It also involved the acquisition of video projectors to accompany the efforts to computerise and map the course notes provided by the lecturers. In addition to the hardware aspect, it is worth noting the reinforcement of the software aspect through the acquisition of licences for statistical software (Stata 14, SPSS 20 and Eviews 8)  to develop the technical capacities of students in terms of processing and analysis of large databases.
  • The organisation of teaching missions: Harmonisation of teaching is paramount for the harmonisation of statistical practices in Africa. To this end, African schools of statistics organise annual meetings to discuss their programmes. In addition to these meetings, ENSEA involves professors from other schools and AFRISTAT experts in its teaching.

Expected Results:

  • An academic survey is conducted;
  • Two duplicates are acquired for the academic surveys;
  • 40 tablets equipped with geolocation functions are purchased and used for the academic survey;
  • 40 microcomputers, 10 video projectors and statistical software licences (Stata 14, SPSS 20 and Eviews 8) were purchased for teaching computer science, statistical analysis and econometrics;
  • 3 teaching missions are carried out at ENSEA

Activity 3 : Strengthen the skills of lecturers and administrative staff

Building the lecturers’ capacities in the field of knowledge transmission is a necessity for maintaining training quality. In this sense, ENSEA has organised one (01) educational seminar for its lecturers. The aim was to train them on the relevance of setting up a distance learning system to increase the number of continuing training courses offered to National Statistical System staff.

The lecturers also perfected their skills in statistical fields that are now the subject of particular attention at the international level to integrate these new modules into ENSEA’s current courses. These include vital statistics, environment, governance and gender. They have also participated in seminars organised at the African level on these new themes.

In addition, in recent years, ENSEA has recruited young graduates to renew and energise its teaching staff and to develop new expertise. As part of their promotion at CAMES, they are study theses in French universities. Three theses are currently in progress, two in social statistics and one in economic statistics. More specifically, they focus on:

  • (i) sexual risk behaviour among young people (health statistics),
  • (ii) causal relationships between health status and employment status (employment statistics), and
  • (iii) the effects of unconventional monetary policies (monetary economics).

The support requested consisted in financing a three-month doctoral stay for each researcher and should lead to a better exposure of ENSEA as a research centre, resulting in a more active participation in the “African Journal of Statistics” published by the AfDB.

The activities of the support services (documentation, IT, schooling, communication, accounting) are essential to the quality of services provided by the SFCs. It is important to retrain the staff concerned in order to make their contributions more decisive.

Expected Results :

  • One (1) educational training seminar is organised for lecturers;
  • Three (3) lecturers were able to complete their thesis work;
  • Lecturers’ capacities are strengthened through training seminars organised at ENSEA;
  • Three (3) lecturers participated in symposiums at the African level on new themes in statistics;
  • The capacities of five (5) administrative agents are strengthened through participation in training seminars.

Activity 4 : Programme management

A good programme management requires a final evaluation of both the financial and technical execution of the programme. To this end, a financial audit of the programme was carried out.

Expectd results :

  • The programme is audited.

Support to schools in different countries

In accordance with recommendation 59 of the Regional Strategic Reference Framework for Statistical Capacity Building in Africa proposed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), many NSIs have requested ENSEA to sponsor their statistical training schools for middle managers. These schools train between 20 and 30 students per year.

ENSEA participates in the recruitment process by providing the subjects for the competitive entrance examinations, correcting the tests and organising the jury. The training programme is that of ENSEA and teaching assignments are also carried out by ENSEA lecturers. The end of year jury is held with the participation of two ENSEA representatives. The diploma is signed by the Minister responsible for ENSEA. The following experiences are underway:

  • In Burkina Faso, the programme, provided at ENAREF, has trained over 300 middle managers since 2005. The Assistants Officers trained in Burkina Faso regularly pass the Engineering in Statistics (ITS) competitive exam and pursue their training at ENSEA.
  • In Madagascar, the training, provided at the INFA, has been open since 2010 and has enabled the graduation of around one hundred young people. It is planned that this centre will eventually welcome nationals from the Union of the Comoros.
  • With Niger, the partnership has been established since 1984. Training courses are opened on an ad hoc basis according to the needs of the Niger INS.
  • Support to Togo only began in January 2016 and has enabled the training of 14 statistics manager.

Opening up to English-speaking areas

English is the most widely spoken official language in the world today. Opening up to English-speaking countries has become an absolute necessity for the brand image that ENSEA has always enjoyed. The language barrier is quickly broken by the language training (English & French) provided efficiently by experienced teachers and a state of the art language laboratory.

ENSEA already welcomes students from South Africa and Liberia. The aim is to extend this opening to other English-speaking countries. An ACE mission will visit The Gambia and Sierra Leone in 2023 to identify training needs in statistics and to propose ways for students from these countries to enter the Masters programmes.

To accelerate the integration of English-speaking students, an intensive accredited language programme has been set up. Language consultants (French & English) have been recruited for this purpose.