The Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS) in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development (MLGDRD), Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), National Population Council (NPC) and with support from the UNFPA held a National Census Policy Dialogue on Thursday 30th June 2022 at the Accra International Conference Centre.
The programme, which marked part of the RIPS 50th anniversary activities, aimed to showcase the depth of data generated from the 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC) and highlight the data’s relevance for policy and planning at the national and sub-national levels. The theme for the event was Census Data for Effective Policy Decision Making and Sustainable Development.
Emerita Prof. Takyiwaa Manuh, former Commissioner of NDPC, was the chairperson for the event with Hon. Dan Botwe (MP), the Minister for Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development as the keynote speaker. In his keynote speech, the Minister highlighted the relevance of data for decision making, the importance of integrating population variables into development planning, and the need to make full use of the census data in their work as development units within the Local Government System. He concluded with the hope that the dialogue will ultimately lead to instilling a culture of data usage in all our policy decision-making processes at the national and sub-national levels in Ghana.
The event also featured remarks from Prof. Ayaga Bawah, Ag RIPS Director; Mr. Barnabas Yisa, Ag. UNFPA Ghana Country Representative; Dr. Kodjo Mensah-Abrampa, Director-General, NDPC; Dr. Leticia Adelaide Appiah, NPC Executive Director and Prof. Samuel Kobina Annim, the Government Statistician.
Prof. Annim in his remarks commended RIPS for being the first institution to start a conversation on what happens after the census results are released. He stated the need for conscious efforts to audit population policies historically and assess how census data has informed policies. He also stated the need for data accountability and conceptualising how the nation can begin to rank public sector institutions on their adherence to data use for strategic plans. He stressed the importance of taking advantage of the depth of census data to generate policy-relevant disaggregated research for the various thematic areas. He also touched on some of the innovative dissemination approaches that GSS is implementing for the 2021 PHC. He concluded by discussing the importance of data interoperability to be able to align census data with other datasets and human interoperability which is the collaboration beween partners on data analysis and dissemination.
The Head of the Census Secretariat, Mr. Emmanuel George Ossei, made a presentation on behalf of GSS showcasing the uniqueness of the census and its relevance for national development, the available data from the 2021 PHC and the upcoming releases. A presentation from RIPS followed which highlighted key indicators from the census, how the data can be used to inform policy, and some policy implications based on the available data. Needed policy areas of focus discussed by Professor Stephen Owusu Kwankye of RIPS included more focus on the elderly population, strengthened policies on social security schemes for population engaged in private informal employment, new avenues for job creation for the youth and reduction of the housing deficit to curb rapid slum development, flooding, sanitation, and security issues. There was a final presentation by Mr. Bright Atiasi, Deputy Director at NDPC that demonstrated how the census data has guided the NDPC’s planning and the tailoring of national development strategies towards achieving the sustainable development goals.
The Census Dialogue also featured an exhibition of available census data products and publications from the organising institution