ACAP Publications - Series
A General Demography of Africa
One of the main aims of ACAP is to contribute toward making census data more useful and relevant to scholarly pursuits, policy formulation and development planning in Africa. This is accomplished in part through promoting extensive research using census micro-data for a better understanding of African health and society. As a culmination of the efforts made by ACAP over the years, we now have in place a multivolume series. This series titled A General Demography of Africa is being published by M.E. Sharpe Press. As part of the practical arrangement and to ensure the quality of the series, we have formed an international panel of population and health experts who will be serving as the series editorial advisory board. Over 20 renowned population-health scientists were identified and invited to serve on the editorial advisory board; an overwhelming majority of them have already confirmed their willingness and enthusiasm to be part of this effort. In the summe r of 2005, during a general meeting of the editorial board in Tours, France, members deliberated and agreed on the best strategy for the successful realization of this series.
The first volume in the series, The Demography of South Africa, edited by Tukufu Zuberi, Amson Sibanda, and Eric Udjo was published in 2005. The second volume on African Households: Censuses and Surveys was edited by Etienne van de Walle and published in 2006. Volumes on poverty, evaluation of censuses, and migration are under preparation and we anticipate additional volumes in the coming years. Some of the volumes will have a regional focus while others will be country specific. These volumes will be an essential output of our future activities alongside activities to concretize the establishment of the data bank and a protocol for accessing African census data both on the continent and via the internet from ACAP .
For the majority of the African population, there is relative scarcity of research and, consequently, evidence and information to guide health policy and planning. A new window of opportunity is now available. With the recent wave of democratization and decentralization of planning, there is increasingly a general need for information and data at the local level that will enable informed comprehensive health and development planning alongside the efficient monitoring and assessment of the effectiveness of the programs implemented.
Census data are particularly useful because they provide a clear snapshot of the target populations for the various programs even at the lowest administrative level. Existing censuses will allow for more accurate evaluation of the gravity of health problems and thereby contribute to more effective solutions. Census data can provide the basic indicators for monitoring progress in health planning and policy-relevant population-based interventions. Indeed, the numerators and denominators of most health indicators can only be obtained from the census. By allowing for the study of health and demographic processes at the local level, census data reveal important ecological relationships and provide knowledge about the society (beyond what can be adequately investigated or captured using existing survey data alone).
Making these data more accessible on the African continent will allow policy makers and health managers alike to do their work more effectively. ACAP was invited to particulate in a Statistics Forum: Africa Counts 10-16 July 2006 in Durban, South Africa. At this forum several regional (including SADC, and national statistical offices of several African nations) and continental (including African Development Bank, Friends of the Economic Commission of Africa) organizations embraced the objectives of ACAP. It was recommended that ACAP should evaluate the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals using its vast data base. The second phase of the African Census Analysis Project was further advanced when the representatives of the national statistical offices of African countries meet in Kigali, Rwanda, in January 2007 for the 2 nd Africa Symposium on Statistical Development (ASSD). At the conclusion of this meeting on the 18 th of January the stated in their ninth resolution: “Recommend continued collaboration between African countries and research and analytical institutions such as the African Census Analysis Project (ACAP); in particular ACAP and ECA should work together towards establishing a mirror data center at ECA and developing scholarship programmes for African countries.” Consistent with this recommendation the ACAP has entered a phase of one establishing an African base for the project and collaborating with African nations and the United Nations to realize this objective.
We propose to use a unique collection of African census micro-datato deliver the Pan-African Census Explorer (PACE) and enhance the capacity to access, manage, analyze, interpret and disseminate census and survey data electronically and allow informed health planning and service delivery. Our efforts will be particularly helpful in providing the basic data needed for strategic planning, policy formulation and implementation of democratically based health/welfare programs at the sub-national level. Besides providing access to the vast amount of data collected, the program will also enhance the current level of information technology in the selected countries.
PACE offers a unique opportunity and a robust tool that provides both data producers and users with an easy and quick access to the reliable data needed for the planning and program implementation. Putting data in the PACE environment and setting up this tool in each African nation will strengthen the information base. With minimum training we propose to enhance the capacity of the various program managers and community level planners to implement and monitor health programs that take into account the burdens of the local population. Also this will enhance the capacity of resident African researchers to analyze existing data for a better understanding of health and society, thereby contributing to the betterment of the population. Therefore this program will enhance the process of planning and implementation of democratically based health and welfare programs at the national and sub-national level by making census data easily accessible and available at the lower administrative level.