The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) is set to conduct its maiden Electronic Census in May, this year, to collect complete and accurate data of structures, households and persons within the borders of Ghana.
The three weeks exercise, which would cost Ghana, 91 million dollars, would be used to gather about 2.6 million indicators from the national to community level.
About 70,000 enumerators would be spread nationwide to collect data using a set of questions and geographic positioning on tablets from the about 52,000 Enumeration Areas.
Professor Samuel Annim, Government Statistician, speaking at a seminar to engage intellectuals and professionals on the process, said the exercise would provide updated demographic, social and economic data to support national development activities.
He noted that the information gathered would be used to track the implementation of global and continental development goals, including the Sustainable Development Goals, International Conference on Population and Development goals, and Africa’s Agenda 2063.
Prof. Annim stated that “The census will produce data on who we are, how many we are, as well as where and how we live. It will be used by stakeholders, including, private sector, businesses, civil society organisations, development partners, special interest groups, academics and media, to generate information for general use.”
The Government Statistician said in the area of policy and decision-making, the data would inform the distribution of local government funds, plan government budgets, inform decisions on the public infrastructure needed in the localities and provide guidance on the creation of districts based on population size.
He said the information derived from the Census could be to monitor trends in the economic well-being of the population and create maps to speed emergency services to households in need of assistance.
In the area of housing, Prof. Annim noted that the Census would provide data on the current housing needs of the population and obtain information on the proportion of structures with Ghana Digital Post Addresses and guide planning based on the data on uncompleted structures.
He said it would provide data on residential and non-residential structures to inform policy where there was a deficit in either category and provide data on the use of structures listed to ascertain the stock of habitable structures.
Stakeholders who took turns to make a presentation on the different components of the up-coming census lauded the innovative approach adopted by the GSS towards undertaking the exercise.
Professor Paul Nkegbe, an Associate Professor of Agriculture and Applied Economics and Entrepreneurship Development at the University of Development Studies, said census was at the heart of development and decision making.
He said the paper-based data collection was problematic and had an effect on data quality and thus commended Ghana for joining the likes of Malawi, Ethiopia and Mexico to conduct e-census.
Prof. Nkegbe said the approach would improve data quality, reduce time and cost by eliminating a separate process for data collection, conduct analysis and generate maps and graphs as well as other statistical tables.
He called for the development of a National Census Dashboard as well as the integration of old national census results to determine the development trajectory of the country.