Remarks By Ms. Anne Waiguru, OGW, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry Of Devolution And Planning, During the African Statistics Day Celebrations at KICC on Tuesday 18th November, 2014.

REMARKS BY Ms. ANNE WAIGURU, OGW, CABINET SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF DEVOLUTION AND PLANNING, DURING THE AFRICAN STATISTICS DAY CELEBRATIONS AT KICC ON TUESDAY 18TH NOVEMBER, 2014.

Principal Secretary (ies),
KNBS Board Chairman,
Other Board members,
Director General, KNBS,
Representatives of various Ministries,
Representatives of Development Partners,
Representatives of the Private Sector,
Distinguished Guests,
All Protocols observed,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
May I take this opportunity to welcome you all to the African Statistics Day which is celebrated on 18th of November, every year. This event was initiated in 1990 by the subsidiary body of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the Joint African Conference of Planners, Statisticians, and Demographers.

The day is celebrated each year in order to increase awareness about the important role statistics play in all aspects of social and economic development in Africa. This awareness provides an opportunity to advocate for systematic and increased use of statistics for evidence-based decision making, with a view to enhance the relevance of statistics and mainstream statistics into national and county development plans.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
In Kenya, this day has been set aside by the Government in order to sensitize stakeholders, non-governmental organizations, research institutions, media and all producers and users of official statistics on the significance of statistics in national planning. The goal of today’s celebrations is to promote official statistics and recognize the work and efforts of statisticians in not only producing and disseminating statistical information, but also creating awareness on the meaning and use of such statistics in all spheres of development.

This day seeks to highlight the pivotal role that statistics play in our day-to-day lives among them, acknowledging the services provided by the global statistical system at international, national and county levels. This strengthens the awareness and trust of the public in official statistics. It serves as an advocacy tool to further support the work of statisticians across different settings, cultures, and domains.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Each year, the celebration is structured around a particular theme. This year’s theme is “Open data for Accountability and Inclusiveness”. This theme is meant to promote efficiency, transparency and accountability, as well as inclusiveness in governance.

The right to access public information is the prerequisite to exercising rights and mechanisms of participation. A lot of progress has been made towards increasing access to official statistical information. Nevertheless, substantial gaps still remain. The Guidelines on Open Government Data and Services stress that open data provide the foundation to enable citizens to better understand the way their Government works, how tax revenue is spent, and the decision-making process behind the allocation of national and county governments budgets. By involving citizens in decision-making, Governments can achieve more efficient and equitable outcomes. It is necessary, therefore, to remove barriers hindering access to information in order for political, social and economic participation to be carried out by informed citizens.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Opening up government data and information, therefore, are key foundations to enabling engagement with citizens by using new technologies to connect the public to government and to one another. This invites individuals and organizations to transform data and information into tools and applications that help individuals, institutions and communities; and to promote partnerships with government to create innovative solutions to the opportunities and challenges faced by citizens. Open data therefore can improve inclusiveness by giving citizens the information they need to participate in public decision-making.

Innovative open data systems for example, the Kenya Open Data Portal, provide a good starting point for open data for accountability and inclusiveness. Kenya has a government run open data initiative, the Kenya Open Data Initiative (KODI), which is housed in the Ministry of Information Communication and Technology (ICT), and is managed by the Kenya ICT Board. As a country we are proud to note that Kenya was the first country in sub- Saharan Africa to establish an open data portal.

As we approach the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals, there are growing calls for the new post-2015 framework to include goals for more effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions for all. The government, through this Ministry is already working on targets for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and mechanisms for monitoring our progress towards achieving the same. This includes putting forward a proposal including targets for reducing corruption, promoting transparency, access to information and accountability, as well as ensuring decision-making processes are more inclusive and representative.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I take this opportunity to pay gratitude to our development partners namely; AfDB, IMF, DFID, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNDP, World Bank, USAID, SIDA and other bilateral and multilateral development partners that have supported us in the field of statistical capacity development and planning.

My Ministry also takes note of the important role played by the media in informing the general populace of results, developments and new events in the statistical fields. I assure you of my firm commitment that new opportunities for cooperation in statistical development shall continue to evolve and strengthen. This is in particular reference to collaborative arrangements with research institutions, public universities, development partners and other stakeholders to widen frontiers towards assimilation of statistics and information technology in economic planning and development.

Finally, I wish to thank all Kenyan households, enterprises the private sector and civil society, for their cooperation in provision of data.

Thank You.

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