Message from Mr. Stephen Wainaina, MBS, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics during the 21st African Statistics Day, 18th November, 2021

I am pleased to join the statistics fraternity in this year’s celebration of the African Statistics Day. I am particularly delighted to note that this year’s theme, “Modernizing National Statistical Systems to Support Socio-cultural Development in Africa” augurs with the Government’s long term development blue print, the Kenya Vision 2030. The Vision aims to transform Kenya into an industrialized middle-income country offering a high quality of life to all our citizens. The Social pillar, identifies culture as one of the key sub-sectors that need to be transformed for the country to build a just and cohesive society that enjoys equitable social development in a clean and secure environment. It is therefore imperative that statistics producers position themselves to provide the requisite statistical information needed to track realization of the aspirations of the Vision with respect to socio-cultural development.


I take cognizance of the important role that cultural and creative activities play in creating job opportunities and consequently improving the welfare of the people. Players in these industries have evolved overtime from using traditional practices to showcasing their skills in digital platforms such as social media and other online streaming modes. To adequately track developments in this aspect of the economy, the country requires data that will inform formulation of policies that can support these activities. It is therefore imperative that producers of statistics across the National Statistical System (NSS) modernize their operations in tandem with the dynamic digital environment.


The amendment of the Statistics Act 2006 in 2019 duly takes cognizance of the need for KNBS to change with the times. This goes a long way in enhancing good governance, expanding its scope and aligning KNBS to changes contained in the Constitution. The amended Act provides a framework for modernization of the National Statistical System (NSS). The transformation and modernization of the NSS is necessary to meet current demands and especially the indicators for monitoring progress made towards achieving the SDGs and the Africa Agenda 2063. The main drivers for the transformation and modernization of national statistical systems are National Strategies for the Development of Statistics (NSDS). In this regard, KNBS, as the national statistical office plays a pivotal role in coordinating, steering and directing the national statistical system towards transition and modernization.


The use of modern methods for producing official statistics, in particular, increasing the use of administrative data (register-based surveys) and employing big data capacity in the process of producing official statistics is enhanced in a modern statistical system. It is expected that the implementation and application of international organizations standards and guidelines are strengthened in a modern and transformed NSS. Apart from the amendment of existing statistics laws, another hallmark of a modern NSS is the development of national strategic and development plans for the transformation and modernization of national statistical systems. KNBS is already making plans to work with stakeholders to move in this direction. This is expected to better equip data producers to provide data and statistics which are crucial in supporting sociocultural development in the country.


In addition, better coordination of the NSS facilitates improvement of the quality of data produced as well as the strengthening the coordination mechanisms. Part of the existing strategies that KNBS has implemented is the Kenya Strategy for Development of Statistics (KSDS), which provides a framework for development and ownership of statistics in the country. It goes without saying that a lot can still be done to improve the NSS, especially in this era of COVID-19. Indeed, the pandemic has brought new challenges including how to collect and access data from various producers and suppliers. This calls for use of innovative ways in the production and management of official statistics without compromising on quality and incorporating established statistical standards. This will lay solid ground for promoting sociocultural development while fostering an all-inclusive recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as the country joins the rest of the world to build back better.


We wish to reiterate the commitment of the KNBS Board of Directors in availing indicators that will accurately measure the culture and creative industry as envisaged in the country’s Vision as well as the SDGs and Agenda 2030. The Bureau will collect and avail culture and heritage data through use of modern technologies as well as through enhancement of Administrative data collection.


Together let us celebrate the 21st African Statistics Day by appreciating the role of the NSS in supporting sociocultural development.