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The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Regional Office for West and Central Africa held a webinar on Wednesday, 17 June 2020 to discuss the impact of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic on the processes and conduct of General of Population and Housing Census (GPHC) in West and Central Africa.

The meeting availed the opportunity for countries engaged in census processes, in particular, the National Statistical Institutes (NSIs) to take stock of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their operations, three months after the first COVID-19 positive case surfaced in the region. Participants analyzed the pandemic situation in their respective countries to understand better its impact on the operations of the NSIs and more specifically, on censuses.

On behalf of the Regional Director, Dr Mamadou Kante, Deputy Regional Director of UNFPA for West and Central Africa, addressed the impact of the pandemic in the course of the census process. “The implementation of the COVID-19 national response plans and the mobilization of the resources that accompany them have had the effect of diverting the attention of governments and development partners from the general population census. Many programmes, projects and activities have been rescheduled to respond to this unprecedented global emergency." He noted.

He nevertheless invited the stakeholders to anticipate the alternatives to be implemented to roll out the census agenda for concerned countries: "the pandemic has had a real impact on the Census operations which beckons for imagine alternative solutions."

Indeed, the current context imposed by COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for quality data. The public and decision-makers, in particular, want to understand better the socio-economic impact of the epidemic on the population. Availability of quality data will allow decision-makers to take the appropriate measures to the response. Consequently, this requires to adapt to the context when collecting and analyzing the data.

Note to the Editor

This virtual meeting allowed the sharing of experiences on Mitigation Strategies as well as the alternative solutions implemented to ensure continuity of operations and to identify the areas where countries need additional support due to the impact of the crisis. It is positioning itself as a plea to governments on the importance of maintaining the GPHC processes, the only source of comprehensive information for an effective response to COVID-19.

Organised by the Evidence and Knowledge Management Unit of the UNFPA WCARO, the event enabled the participation of all 23 countries in the region as well as National Statistical Institutes in the following countries: Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia and Mali.


Habibou Dia | Media Specialist, UNFPA WCARO | | Phone: +221 78 620 45 13